6 Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews for Fitness Cruises to Mexican Riviera

Let me start by saying we are the type of people who believe that any vacation is what you make it and therefore, can have a good time pretty much anywhere. And we did on this trip. It was a wonderful 9-day vacation although there were ... Read More
Let me start by saying we are the type of people who believe that any vacation is what you make it and therefore, can have a good time pretty much anywhere. And we did on this trip. It was a wonderful 9-day vacation although there were definitely some ups and downs. We've cruised on Disney, Carnival and NCL all 7-day's or longer. When we chose this cruise we did so knowing that we were getting "what we paid for." Carnival is inexpensive in comparison but is a good value for our family of four. Embarkation in San Diego was strange. We arrived at 11:00 a.m. and were on the ship by 12:30. There was some waiting but it was fine. The terminal is small and they use white tents set-up on an asphalt parking lot as additional waiting area. The baggage check was outside and a bit disorganized. Not really what one would expect from a home port that has been hosting cruises for any length of time. The buffet we had for lunch before sailing was terrible. We love a good meal and have eaten in some very nice, very good places but don't really consider ourselves "foodies." There weren't many choices and what was available tasted like leftovers from the previous cruise. Luckily it did get much better throughout the trip. Look carefully or you'll miss the prepared to order stations which are hidden behind the buffet lines. There just isn't space for them anywhere else. I'd equate the quality of food to what you would find at Home Town Buffet with maybe a more little flair. We did eat at the steakhouse one evening and really enjoyed that meal. In our opinion it was well worth the additional $30 per person. We chose your time dining as we don't like to be held to an early or a late seating. I'm not sure if that option was a good one. Of the 9 nights we went the dining room 3 times. As I mentioned we have two children and the service was painfully slow. Two of the dinners took roughly 90 minutes. Way too long with kids sitting at the table. The food was decent but wasn't worth the wait. The service elsewhere on the ship was very good. Everyone was friendly and efficient. The barista at the coffee shop in the buffet was awesome. The staff at Camp Carnival were incredible. Very welcoming and remembered our kids names when they saw them out and about on the ship. As always there were tons of activities for the kids. We enjoyed all the activities we chose to participate in (bingo, game shows, listening to karaoke, trivia). Went to Punchliners and had a good time listening to family friendly comedy. I cannot recall their names but the second comedian was much better than the first. The stage shows were boring!! Geared, in my opinion, to a much older generation. Definitely in need of some updating and some variety. All four of us loved the new waterworks park. Green Thunder is surprisingly fun! The ship boasts typical wild Carnival decor but we found it clean and in good repair. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We have been on the Spirit before. It has always been mediocre, but traveled where and when our lives permitted. The ship just returned from a two week drydock and it showed. The gym has been totally reconfigured and outfitted with state ... Read More
We have been on the Spirit before. It has always been mediocre, but traveled where and when our lives permitted. The ship just returned from a two week drydock and it showed. The gym has been totally reconfigured and outfitted with state of the art Life Fitness equipment. There is a new 21 and over pool and sun area that is just wonderful. Quiet (means no kids) and pretty at the back of the ship. These new improvements are wonderful and great additions to the ship. The rest of the ship is the same old mediocre Carnival product. The food is a disgrace. Folks in prison eat better quality and variety than Carnival offers. They don't even have enough good ingredients to make a good salad. Having been on other lines this is is normally a simple task, not on Carnival. Healthy choices are just plain bad. IF all you are looking for is fried food, burgers, chicken fingers and pizza you will be in heaven. There is a reason many guests exceed 300 pounds and keep cruising. If good healthy food is your goal, forget it on Carnival. The shows were ok, but nothing special. The Cruise Director "Stu" is from Australia and screams on the intercom all the time. The problem is that you can't understand most of what he says due to this thick accent. As a result, we just "tuned out" Stu. Carnival staff is totally indifferent to guests and guest requests. Carnival now assesses tips to guests. The employees essentially get the same tips whether they kill themselves or perform the bare minimum to keep their jobs. The bare minimum is the best effort you ever get. Any special request is usually followed by rolled eyes and a 50-50 chance it will actually happen. Kind of like socialized tipping. Everyone gets the same regardless of the output or effort. Because Carnival wants to sell drinks and each on commands a 15% automatic tip, drink service is amazing! Carnival is cheap and mediocre. Nothing bad, but certainly nothing above average at any level. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Back once again from our latest adventure. We choose the Carnival Spirit sailing to the Mexican Riviera over Thanksgiving holiday! As usual everything was delightful. Since our last sailing in April of 2011, there has been a couple ... Read More
Back once again from our latest adventure. We choose the Carnival Spirit sailing to the Mexican Riviera over Thanksgiving holiday! As usual everything was delightful. Since our last sailing in April of 2011, there has been a couple changes. In the staterooms there is a placard with your room steward listed. Which is nice. You always know who to contact. The menu in the main dining room has been changed up a little. There is no "spa" selection any longer, the good for you meals are now designated with a "heart" to the right of the entree. The food was not as delicious as normal, not bad, but not I remembered from past cruises. One of my favorites desserts is the souffle and after getting through the top, the filling was as delicious as I remembered. The service, as always, is the highlight of the cruise. Everyone always going out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome. We were seated next to the chronic complainers in the main diningroom, whom sent their selected entrees back nightly; but with all drama, the dining room staff went our of their way to make the chronic "b"ers happy - it didn't work, but you have to give it to the staff for trying. KUDOs to you!The drinks prices have been raised $1 per drink. The higher the drinks go, the lower my sign and sail account. I guess that is perspective. I just have to say that I enjoy sailing with Carnival - the overall experience is always wonderful. Stu the cruise director was very funny and it was nice to see him out amongst the people. We already booked for our next cruise in May 2012. Thank you so much for a delightful time once again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The cruise itself was a lot of fun, it was the passengers on the ship that were different from any other cruise we have been on. Our neighbors on the balcony beside us brought a 'boom box' and were playing it very loudly whenever ... Read More
The cruise itself was a lot of fun, it was the passengers on the ship that were different from any other cruise we have been on. Our neighbors on the balcony beside us brought a 'boom box' and were playing it very loudly whenever we were in port and when leaving the ports. So much for relaxing on our deck when we left the ports. The neighbors above us jumped up and down on the floor and on the outside deck almost constantly. Made for a very noisy cruise. There were lots of empty beer bottle, glasses and dishes left in the hallways and near the elevator doors. Several passengers wore sleeveless t-shirts, baseball caps and were overweight. Truthfully, one way to describe cruises to others is by the average age of the passengers. On this cruise I would describe it by the average weight of the passengers, which had to be around 300 lbs. The few times we ate at the buffets were a real challenge, as we had o stay out of the way of passengers that butted in line, and there were a lot of them. On his morning show, the cruise director actually said that to maximize your cruise dollars, go thru the buffet line and fill up your try as high as you can, go eat it and come back for more! The sail-away band, was only 2 musicians and taped drums and backup instruments. Not much fun to sit by the pool and listen to 1/2 a band. Not all was bad. We has exceptional service at dinner from Raphael and Michael. We sat by a large Hispanic family, about 25 in all, and they were very polite and friendly. Our room steward did a great job, our room was always cleaned and we rarely saw him - Joe Louis was his name. Also room service was right on time every day. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Just returned from the 9-night cruise on Dec 10 to the Mexican Riviera from San Diego on Carnival Spirit and, unlike another reviewer, I thought the entertainment was excellent. Seriously, this is a party ship. If you're worried about ... Read More
Just returned from the 9-night cruise on Dec 10 to the Mexican Riviera from San Diego on Carnival Spirit and, unlike another reviewer, I thought the entertainment was excellent. Seriously, this is a party ship. If you're worried about too much adult entertainment then sail Disney! Compared to a Celebrity cruise to Alaska last October, where the show music was canned and the performers suitably uninspired, the Spirit shows were creative, colorful, interesting, well-sung, well-danced, and the 8-piece band lead by a young lady, who plays the slide trombone with more energy than I have heard in a long time, was a delight to listen to. They performed not only in all three excellent shows, but also in the Cool Club lounge where they took the time to explain a little about the mechanics of performing together and passing the lead around during jazz improvs. The show singers even performed in the lounge. The final show, The Big Easy, featured the music of New Orleans and was the most creative show of the three. My favorite number was "The House of the Rising Sun" with four ragged wraiths in bat costumes following the singer around the stage. The food in the Empire Dining Room was better than other Carnival cruises I've been on. Nice presentations, good variety, and the steaks were tender and juicy. The dancing waiters shtick every night was something I looked forward to, although if you had told me about it beforehand I'd have said it sounds ridiculous. We only had breakfast in the dining room the first morning however; as the service was so spotty we decided to eat on the Lido deck every morning thereafter. The Spirit has a large spa with free access to an excellent steam room, sauna, and jacuzzi as well as resistance machines, weights, elliptical trainers, and treadmills for those who don't know that cruises are supposed to be a time out to relax. Unfortunately the spa services menu was just as over-priced as most high-end hotels in Vegas, $2/minute for a Swedish massage. Do your homework and reserve a massage in advance at a hotel in one of the ports of call for half the price or less. I talked to someone who even found a massage for two for $45 near Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas. He also raved about the Kristal Hotel spa which is almost within sight of the pier in Puerto Vallarta. The ports of call on this cruise were Cabo (2 nights), La Paz, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. Personally I can do Cabo in one day, but there's enough water-based activities and cheap Margaritas ashore to make it worth two days if you're so inclined. La Paz is not ready for cruise-ship prime time yet, I'm sorry to say. Be the first one off the ship in the morning for the 30-minute bus ride into town, otherwise you're likely to spend an hour standing in line waiting for seats on the second wave of buses. For the ride back I suggest you spend $5/head for a taxi rather than queue up around the block at the bus station. That said I'm not sure I'd want to walk La Paz again anyway. You don't have to get too far off the Malecon for La Paz to get boring. Perhaps the Weavers shore excursion would have been a better bet. In any case Mazatlan was much more to my liking. You can walk to old Mazatlan (or take a short taxi ride) and spend the entire day enjoying the well preserved architecture and art. Even the not so well preserved buildings are a joy to look at. There are many interesting shops like Nidart and Casa Etnika that are a pleasant change from the usual gauntlet of cheap, tourist junk that litters the pier side shops. Don't miss the market emporium near the Cathedral to see an interesting stew of humanity. In Puerto Vallarta we went on the Tequila factories shore excursion. Well worth the money. We were bused inland, away from the WalMart and the hotels that Hollywood built, to the Hacienda Doña Engracia and Leyva distilleries where our excellent guide, Amigo Raul, tells us they make small batches the old fashioned way, 100% agave and double-distilled. What is the proper way to end a toast with Tequila? "Arriba, abajo, a centro, adentro. Salud," then gulp it down—don't swirl it in your mouth, this isn't wine—count to three, take a deep breath, let it out, and feel the tequila warm its way from your belly down to your toes. Mañana. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I Got on a Jet Blue Flight out of JFk at 8am headed to San Diego. The flight went smoothly we got to San Diego 25 Minutes Earlier than Scheduled. I got off the plane went to baggage claims got my bags and immediately saw the Carnival ... Read More
I Got on a Jet Blue Flight out of JFk at 8am headed to San Diego. The flight went smoothly we got to San Diego 25 Minutes Earlier than Scheduled. I got off the plane went to baggage claims got my bags and immediately saw the Carnival Representatives. I gave my name, they took my bags, I got on the bus which was comfortably air conditioned, the bus stopped twice to pick up more passengers and within 20 minutes the bus pulls up at the cruise terminal. When we got to the port of San Diego I immediately noticed the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum on my left, Carnival Triumph in the middle and the Maritime Museum on my right. I told myself I am going to check out the Aircraft Carrier before I set sail on my cruise. The bus pulled into the terminal and stopped and the representative called my name and two other people to get off the bus. I am now wondering why am I being called off the bus with these people while everyone else gets to stay on. I got off the bus along with the other two people and was immediately shuttled inside the terminal by another representative, now I'm getting real skeptical, we're asking each other why we were called off the bus while everyone else drove further down into the terminal. We were taken immediately through the security check point and to the counter. Five minutes later I was being told "Bon Voyage proceed to the stair case to your left. I did as I was told and then realized that I am boarding the ship. So much for touring the museum. I then found out that the reason for the covert disembarkation from the shuttle bus is because we were the only ones who completed the Fun Pass in it's entirety and paid for the transfer bus vouchers online. I have to say it sure felt good stepping off the plane, claiming my bags and being on the ship within 35 minutes. I got on the ship and immediately I was in vacation mode. I took my bags to my cabin and then hit the Lido deck for some lunch and to take in the sights and sounds of the port. There is a pirate ship on the port side of the ship that actually have a real working cannon. The steel band got started at about 1:30pm and that really got everyone in the mood for the Vacation of A Lifetime. There were a number of different tours going on, tours of the Gym, Spa and of course the ship. We set sail at about 4PM and got on deck for the mandatory life boat drill. While doing so, we were being entertained by the folks on the boats in the San Diego Bay. That ship I mentioned before with the real working cannons sounded off a couple of Bon Voyage rounds for us. As we proceed to the Sailaway Party on Lido Deck the Port of San Diego faded on the horizon. As we settle in there was Dinner, Karaoke, Adult Disco, Piano Sing Along, Classical Music, Good Time Music, Live Dance Music, Casino Lessons, Game Show Mania, Family Meet and Greet, Children's Meet and Greet, Singles Gathering and the Main Show at 10:30PM. I stopped by as many of the above listed as I could then retired to bed about 2AM. Saturday is a Fun Day at Sea Day. There are just so many things to choose from to do. There's the sunrise stretch class at 7:30AM I think not I am on vacation, I had breakfast, played mini golf, participated in Broadway Show Tunes Trivia, stopped by the Chicken Olympics (very funny indeed), Passed by the Ice Carving Demo, participated in the Slot Tournament then went and got dressed for the Captain's Cocktail Party. Tonight is the First Formal Night. After the party I took as many pictures as they asked me to pose for, then I went to dinner in the Empire Restaurant and then went to the Pharaoh's Lounge for the High Spirit's show starring Rudy Lowe(OMG he can sing)and Carley Bailey. After that show, I stayed for the R Rated Comedy of Paul Lyons. That was ah alright. Then I went down to the Versailles Lounge and caught the last set of Music in Motion a live band that does dance music. (They are the best, Maria the Drummer is worth the price of the entire cruise. The Guitarist can play 'Free Bird' & 'Stairway to Heaven' as if he was the original Guitarist when the songs was first released.) After that I went to the Disco and partied until about 3AM then I retired to my cabin, went on the balcony and enjoyed the serenity of the ocean then I called it a night. Sunday the second Fun Day at Sea another fun filled day. I participated in a dance class, enjoyed the steel band, did some shopping, attended the Newly Wed Game, Karaoke, Music Jam Session, attended the Comedy Show and went down to the Versailles Lounge Partied with the live band, then went to the Disco and tried to dance to everything the DJ threw my way. Retired to bed about 2AM. Monday Arrived in Acapulco about 12PM. Was happy to see land after 2 days of sailing. I was a little taken aback by the way the cab drivers come at you to offer tours. I am in vacation mode, don't want to be rushed and hassled. I decided to do a walking tour with a quiet guide that did not rush at me but waited for me to take my time and hear what he was offering. We walked through the town, the local market, and to where the cliff divers were. We got there just in time for the afternoon dive. Got great pictures, bought some jewelry grabbed a cool drink and headed back down the hill and walked to the beach. On my way back from the beach saw this lady manhandling a 6 foot long fish with a machete. bought some more souvenirs and head back to the ship. I ate took a nap and then was ready for the night scene at about 8pm. I attended the show, partied in the Versailles Lounge and then the Disco. Retired to bed about 1:30AM Tuesday Arrived in Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa got on the tender boat (which was actually the ship's life boat that was cool to be riding in the life boat without an emergency)and hit the beach. I walked the entire walkway and was amazed at the vast array of colorful shells and fish that was visible to the naked eyes. I saw a fish that except for it's eyes was totally transparent. I actually caught a few in a cup. This was amazing to me. I shopped some more and had lunch then head back to the ship. My night life imitated that of the previous night the main show featured Ned Rifken and was entitled 'Singin with the Big Band. That was fun. I retired to bed about 2AM. Wednesday Arrived in Manzanillo. I did the ATV/Zipline Tour with Ventana Tours, it was amazing. The Terrain was to die for and the beach section was the most pristine piece of beach I've seen in a while. I was able to do maximum speed on the beach and the tour was just the best. The tour guides were great, it wasn't the usual ride in a line behind everyone else tour. The Zipline was great. I've ziplined through the forest but never across the ocean that provided an extra rush of adrenaline for me. I got back to the ship tired and spent of all my energy. I went into the hot tub to see if it would help and it did. then I retired to bed for a little then woke up for dinner and my night time activities. Tonight I added a little casino action. Tonight's show was Rhythm & Blues with the Voice from Heaven in the form of Rudy Lowe and the hilarious comedy of Merl Hobbs. I also partied under the stars on Lido deck with Music Motions. By the time this night was over for me it was about 2:30AM Thursday Fun Day at Sea. The realization hits that the cruise is winding down and we are heading back home. Elegant night #2. Tried to read one of the 5 books I brought on board just in case I got bored. That did not happen because it was so much to see and do. I scheduled an hour at the spa, did some more shopping, there's always a sale the last 2 days of the cruise. Played Bingo, Went to Ship Life Q & A with the hilarious duo in the form of Kirk Benning (Cruise Director) and Noonan (Assistant Cruise Director). I had dinner and posed for more pictures and then went down to the Versailles Lounge and rocked out to Sweet Home Alabama, Free Bird, Stairway to Heaven, Brick House, September, Rolling on the River, I will Survive and a few others. Partied in the Disco until about 1:30am. Friday Last Fun Day at Sea The daunting task of packing and the realization that I am heading back to the rat race of Corporate America is less than thrilling. I got through packing and headed up to lido hung with the steel band for a while then I stopped at all the favorite hot spots on the ship, and tried to use up all my internet minutes print my return boarding pass etc. Hit the casino then sat down for the Carnival Legends Show. This is where vacationers take to the stage with the professional dancers for backup. There was a James Brown, Madonna, Elvis, Aretha Franklin, Britney Spears and Frank Sinatra. After the show Partied in the Versailles Lounge one last time and stopped by the disco one last time then head on to bed at about 11:45 PM. My cabin was always in immaculate shape, The recreation crew did a morning show that was aired every morning on Chanel 17 (that was funny to an extent), the food was great the company on the ship was great(did I mention I did this cruise alone). The crew was great and overall it was a great cruise. I enjoyed all the on deck activities and the night life was just what the doctor ordered for me. The cruise director mentioned that there was 750 kids on board, I only saw a few so I guess Camp Carnival was providing some good entertainment for the youngsters. The dining room staff was great. I like the shows the waiters put on it's a blast. This was my third cruise and I guess the third time is the charm!!!!!. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
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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