6 Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Mexican Riviera

I selected this specific cruise due to the holidays. Our Carnival Cruise on the Spirit left San Diego on 12/23/11 and returned on 1/1/12, with four ports of call - Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas (2 nights), Puerto Vallarta and Manzinillo. I ... Read More
I selected this specific cruise due to the holidays. Our Carnival Cruise on the Spirit left San Diego on 12/23/11 and returned on 1/1/12, with four ports of call - Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas (2 nights), Puerto Vallarta and Manzinillo. I booked directly through Carnival and let Carnival handle everything from Airport to Airport. Embarkation seemed to be a bit unorganized. As a first time cruiser (with VIP status due to our room), I did expect some extra handling as outlined by Carnival, but I also felt that was a very small thing to complain about so I let it go. However, we had no idea what to do after we boarded and there wasn't much information forthcoming. We had to wait about 2 hours before we could get into our room and our luggage didn't arrive until after we had left port (which was late leaving for some reason I think possibly a late plane coming in. However there was plenty of food to eat and free drinks. Knowing beforehand this would occur (and thinking logically about it I should have realized that moving all that luggage onto the ship and into the rooms would take a while), we would have packed a little differently and had a carry on with us so we could freshen up. This is a very very slight complaint as I said. That said, our room was fabulous. We had stateroom 5295, a vista suite, with a huge balcony. The joke that they make up your bed when you go to the bathroom was almost true...lol. We will actually go with a smaller stateroom (with a balcony of course) next time as this was really too much room for us. Our room steward was great and very very helpful to us first time cruisers. We completely enjoyed the food, both in the dining room and of course all of the buffets. I will say that the buffet breakfast was better then the dining room breakfast and the regular coffee everywhere was very very weak. However the decaf was a nice strong, rich coffee. Go figure. The coffee from the two coffee bars (cost extra) was really good and cheaper than Starbucks coffee. We had coffee and croissants delivered every morning so that we could sit on our balcony and watch the sun come up. Perfect mornings. We ate at the steak house on Christmas (also a formal night). The dinner was worth far more than the $30 per person. It was literally the best steak we have ever had and other patrons were saying the same thing. The entire dinner took around 2 hours. The only thing about it was the portion sizes. They are HUGE..It was a bit of overkill. If you like smaller portions get the Surf and Turf. 7oz filet mignon and 7 oz lobster tail. Perfectly cooked. My husbands 12 oz filet was also perfectly cooked rare, which is hard to find. Entertainment - what can I say about this? The main shows were awesome. The last show of the cruise - The Big Easy - was spectacular. It was the kind of show you would see in Vegas - flash, glitter, pyrotechnics, lifts, tons of costume changes - and all done with 4 main singers, 12 back up dancer/singers and an 8 piece band. We went to 4 of the comedy shows (adult versions) and laughed ourselves silly. The same comedians also did an early family show each night. I gambled a little in the casino but didn't are for the cigarette smoke and of course it isn't the best place to waste your money anyway. I did check out the gym and what a fabulous place - Had every intention to work out but..well you know how it is. I also didn't use the salon. Our shore excursions were an adventure onto themselves. We had two canceled but it was easy to replace them with something else. In Cabo we did the Dolphin Swim on day and took a glass bottom boat for a tour the second day. The Dolphin Swim was worth every penny but the picture packages cost as much as the excursion. We bought them anyway of course. The only downside to Cabo was the gauntlet of vendors you have to deal with. Annoying. In Ensenada we took a wine country tour. Cost was reasonable and it was a lot of fun. Had a lot of wine samples...lol..But we did miss the pack of kids in town selling chicklets to the tourists...I thought that was a joke but it isn't. Puerto Vallarta was beautiful and by far our favorite port. We had a 7 hour Extreme Canopy Excursion so didn't see any of the town per se. This was by far the highlight of our trip. We didn't have anything planned for Manzinillo except some shopping. We didn't care for this port much and that could simply be due to American sensibilities. I thought it would be an interesting adventure to stay there at a local hotel for a few days but my husband didn't think so.. Our last two days were at sea. The Ship seemed to be riding rough (engine noise, lots of tossing) but the seas appeared fairly smooth. They also seemed to be in an incredible hurry and were never steaming much under 20 knots. One of our dinner companions noted generally they slow down during the dinner hour. The only thing we could thing was that they wanted to get back into US waters for the New Year's party our last night at sea. We managed to at least once do every activity offered on board. The cruise director, Stu Dunn (and when does that man sleep?) has a horse race which was great fun. If you are on the Spirit and he is putting this on, don't miss it. Bring some cash so you can place your bets. We met lots of great people (and some that only wanted to complain about everything)and we had a fabulous time. Our few 'complaints', in my opinion, were due to not knowing how something worked. We know now and will be prepared for our next cruise. The biggest complain by husband had was on the last two days at sea. They seemed to be draining and cleaning the pools and hot tubs excessively. Several times many of them weren't available at the same time. He enjoyed the hot tubs. I only used them twice and never even set a toe in a pool. There were plenty of available deck chairs always. This cruise was completely booked and I heard there were 600 kids on board. You would have never known it. Carnival certainly keeps the kids busy busy busy and contained. Which I really liked. Debarkation went off without a hitch. We had an early flight and VIP status so we were off the ship and through customs fairly early. Too early actually. I didn't really look at our return flight and didn't realize until the night before we were leaving out of Long Beach instead of LAX. Next time I will double check that. Long Beach is a small regional airport. We had to wait three hours before we could even check our luggage with Alaska Air and their 'waiting' area is practically non existant.. Carnival booking should have booked us, and all the other people waiting with us, through LAX. If you are flying Jet Blue you are in luck as that is their main airline. All in all, we had the best vacation we have ever had. For the money we spent, I feel we got every pennies worth. Next time, we won't spend near the money we spent on onboard pictures and in the shops. My husband doesn't drink and I only had the special everyday so our onboard ship and sail account was only $860.00. About a 1/4 of that was pics, 1/4 was internet usage (won't do that on the next cruise), 1/4 in the ships and the rest was coffee, mini bar usage and my drinks and some gambling. I came in below my budget without really trying. And I swear, at every single port of call, we had to wait on people who didn't show up on time. One time, we left and the harbor master brought them out to the boat...Kinda funny, but come on people. Be on time. Our room steward said that normally they will just leave but our ports of call were so close together, they had time to wait for a while. It was kind of funny but by the last port of call, it wasn't. We all booed them as they got on. I am in the process of booking another cruise for 2012. Just can't decide where I want to go. I want to be one of those 30 or 40 cruise people we met. Last word - Carnival if you read this, listen up - The safety drills, as done, are a waste of time. We couldn't hear a thing or see the demonstration. There are better ways to handle this. Instead of shouting the instructions through the intercom, nne of the crew members should use a bull horn for their station. AND more than one person needs to be on a ladder or platform doing the demonstrations. We couldn't see a thing. Break up the crowd at each station. We had a great time and would definitely recommend Carnival and the Spirit in particular. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was my first cruise, and to be frank I wanted to go with Holland America but the holiday cruise I wanted was booked and I could only get a late booking with Carnival. I was traveling alone and single over the holidays, so knew this ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and to be frank I wanted to go with Holland America but the holiday cruise I wanted was booked and I could only get a late booking with Carnival. I was traveling alone and single over the holidays, so knew this would be an interesting experience to say the least, since I was aware of Carnival's reputation of being geared more toward families, cheap cruising, and "fun." My defense was booking a very nice suite, and taking some beautiful clothes and my usual playful, adventurous spirit, determined to dress up no matter what, and hopefully meet some nice people. First, I'll say I'm hooked on cruising, despite Carnival, which was about what I expected. I will say my suite was beautifully decorated, large and tasteful. as advertised. I deliberately booked in the back of the ship on the port side, and it was very quiet and comfortable, no issues at all. The vibration from the engines only got to be a bit much on the long journey back traveling North, where I needed ear plugs. Otherwise, my cabin steward was wonderful and looked out for me traveling alone, very gracious. My main complaint was the outdated TV with a VHS player, and the movie channel never worked the entire time. The room was huge and had more storage space than any large hotel suite I've stayed in. Initially the whirlpool jets in my tub didn't work since I ran out of hot water before it could reach them- this was eventually fixed. This cabin was far away from stairs/ elevators, and I enjoyed walking so got a lot of exercise going to and fro. I was really glad I read the forum before hand though to know to bring a power strip, since this large room literally had only ONE outlet. My main complaints were Guest (lack of) Services, the shore excursions, and the food. I paid a fortune for the cruise and their tacky, constant, hard sell approach with the shore excursions was a turnoff. It's obvious Carnival makes most of their money off of their expensive shore excursions and alcohol, plus the "extras" they charge you for. Guest Services was in general, a joke. They didn't have any authority and seemed clueless and sometimes rude, not calling back about a problem or question at least half the time, unless I complained, and even then, it seemed no one was in charge. They offered a lot of excuses and very little apology or remedy. The intent and quality of the shore excursions was insulting. You can easily get better shore experiences for less money. It's obvious Carnival has a contract with a specific chain of Mexican jewelry/ silver/ trinket stores. Of the 2 excursions I went on that included "shopping" we were clearly steered THROUGH these stores, one which included a watered down "semi" Tequila tasting. Each stop featured the same store. We were very limited in time off the bus in these shopping districts so couldn't really venture out much to other stores. On the last outing myself and a few others were so irritated we asked to be taken back early to the ship via cab. No lunch at an exclusive beach as promised- the beach restaurant host didn't even know we were coming and said there was no room on the beach. Tour director was clueless. Because I did assert myself strongly at the Shore Excursion desk, they did refund my money. The other excursion was a wine tasting, with a really annoying Mexican tour guide who talked non-stop and made inappropriate remarks about Caucasians. He obviously resented his job! Being charged $4 each time I got a latte from the coffee bar was ridiculous. The food in the "troughs" (Lido cafeteria) as my new found friends and I called it, was bad. Not hot, poor quality, and unresponsive service. The attitude of the serving staff was apathetic at best, and I avoided that food as much as possible, sticking to the salad bar and occasional Asian food line. The main restaurant food was okay, the service sometimes great, sometimes lacking. The option for any time dining was great, and I enjoyed talking with the people I met at various tables. I even ate dinner alone one time and was placed at a table where I didn't feel awkward. The food in the steakhouse was good, and they did offer some good wines. If anything, the steakhouse was not advertised enough, as there weren't many people there. Perhaps they objected to the $30 per person cover charge. Another minor complaint was the loudspeaker system. The safety briefing in the beginning was a joke because you couldn't hear a thing. Ridiculous how the cruise director's message was not able to be heard unless you opened your cabin door, yet when I was getting any of several massages in the spa, the calming music would be interrupted by his blaring voice. The time changed back and forth during this cruise and no verbal announcement was made- it was in tiny print on the daily newsletter, easily missed. About the spa service: Be careful of who you get as a masseuse. Overall they were okay, about what I expected for a cruise ship, but one young woman who performed a "hot stone massage" hurt my back in between the shoulder blades and I later found out I had a cracked rib. Wasn't aware of it at the time, but she clearly didn't know what she was doing. Overall, the ship was in good condition, the decorations tasteful for Christmas, nicely understated, and the gym was beautiful. The best part of the cruise was meeting some really nice people who shared similar viewpoints about life and the overall experience, and making friends with them made the cruise fun. Several of us are already booked on another cruise with Holland America to Alaska in September. I would only cruise with Carnival again they were the only ones offering something where I wanted to go and when. I have no major complaints and had no really bad experiences. Their cruises aren't intended for single adults, but it was still a wonderful experience overall. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My Wife and I just returned from our first cruise. We took the 5-Day Carnival Spirit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The following is our impression of the service and activities onboard. Embarkation: We ... Read More
My Wife and I just returned from our first cruise. We took the 5-Day Carnival Spirit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The following is our impression of the service and activities onboard. Embarkation: We couldn't have asked for a smoother process. We had purchased the transfers from the cruise line. When we arrived, we were met in the baggage area by a cruise representative who directed us to a waiting area and gave us a health questionnaire to fill out that would be required at the terminal. We only had about a five minute wait before being directed to our bus for transfer to the terminal. Upon arrival at the terminal, we were very happy to have purchased the transfers. While we could have taken a taxi from the airport to the terminal for much less money, everyone arriving by taxi and parking in the lot across the street were in a huge line dragging their luggage with them. Meanwhile, we were delivered to another entrance with no waiting line, we already had our questionnaires filled out, and our luggage was delivered from the bus to the ship directly, no need for us to handle it again. After about a five minute wait, we were called to board the ship. We proceeded to the Lido deck for lunch, took some time to explore the public areas on decks 9 and 10, and went to our room about 1:30. With such a smooth embarkation, I would not hesitate to purchase the transfers again. Room: We had purchased an Extended Balcony on the Upper Deck (Cabin # 5119, Forward, Starboard). We were very satisfied with the size of the room. We expected small quarters on a cruise, but never felt cramped. The room was very comfortably sized. We loved the extended balcony. We had plenty of room to fully stretch out our legs and relax. We slept very comfortably on the Carnival Comfort bed. We both agreed it was more comfortable than our own bed. Dining: What a great experience. We had requested early dining but our confirmation showed we were on a waitlist for it. After contacting a friend who works for Carnival (Thanks, John!!) and requesting a table for two, we were happy to see that our request was granted and we had early dining with our table for two. On the first night our maitre d (Desi) introduced herself, said that John had forwarded our request which she was happy to accommodate. She even said she had a table for two that had opened at a better location in the dining room and offered it to us. We checked it out, and moved to it the following night. What a great decision. Here we had a waiter (Demir from Croatia) and his assistant (Budi from the Philippians) that really raised the bar of superior service. We were never at a want for anything, they made sure of it. All cruises should be forewarned, in order to meet our level of service on this cruise, you better bring your "A" game. On one night we enjoyed the specialty Nouveau Steakhouse. What a meal!! The food and service were excellent. We were celebrating our 25th Anniversary and everything was perfect. Activities: It seems that there was something for everyone on board. We enjoyed the casino quite a bit. I played Texas Hold'em poker and Blackjack mostly. While I would have preferred a live, dealer dealt poker game, the electronic version was alright. They only had one table, so only 10 people could play at a time. There where times when there were people waiting, so another machine might be in order. Shows: We attended one show "Jazz Hot" on the first sea day. While the show was a very impressive production, and the dancers and music were all very good, it really wasn't our kind of music. It seemed all the production shows were centered around the Jazz and Big Band theme, instead of a bigger variety of music, so we didn't attend the other shows. Debarkation: Again, a very smooth process. We left our room about 7:30 to have breakfast on the Lido deck. We found a nice table by the windows to eat and wait our turn. The Cruise Director, Stu did a wonderful job in explaining the process and keeping everyone informed of its progress. We were off the ship about 9:30, collected our luggage, proceeded through customs and were on a bus back to the airport very quickly. Again, it was a good decision to purchase the transfers as there was a very long line of passengers waiting for taxis. I just wish the airport had been a smooth. Long lines at the ticket counters and the security checkpoints, our plane with Southwest had mechanical problems, and we left about a hour late, but hey, not everything in life can go smoothly, right? Overall Impression: For our first cruise, WE LOVED IT!! We already put money down for a future cruise on Carnival. It took a little getting used to the sounds and movements of the ship, but after a couple of days, we hardly noticed it. Guess we had to discover our 'sea legs'. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
My Wife and I just returned from our first cruise. We took the 5-Day Carnival Spirit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The following is our impression of the service and activities onboard. Embarkation: We ... Read More
My Wife and I just returned from our first cruise. We took the 5-Day Carnival Spirit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The following is our impression of the service and activities onboard. Embarkation: We couldn't have asked for a smoother process. We had purchased the transfers from the cruise line. When we arrived, we were met in the baggage area by a cruise representative who directed us to a waiting area and gave us a health questionnaire to fill out that would be required at the terminal. We only had about a five minute wait before being directed to our bus for transfer to the terminal. Upon arrival at the terminal, we were very happy to have purchased the transfers. While we could have taken a taxi from the airport to the terminal for much less money, everyone arriving by taxi and parking in the lot across the street were in a huge line dragging their luggage with them. Meanwhile, we were delivered to another entrance with no waiting line, we already had our questionnaires filled out, and our luggage was delivered from the bus to the ship directly, no need for us to handle it again. After about a five minute wait, we were called to board the ship. We proceeded to the Lido deck for lunch, took some time to explore the public areas on decks 9 and 10, and went to our room about 1:30. With such a smooth embarkation, I would not hesitate to purchase the transfers again. Room: We had purchased an Extended Balcony on the Upper Deck (Cabin # 5119, Forward, Starboard). We were very satisfied with the size of the room. We expected small quarters on a cruise, but never felt cramped. The room was very comfortably sized. We loved the extended balcony. We had plenty of room to fully stretch out our legs and relax. We slept very comfortably on the Carnival Comfort bed. We both agreed it was more comfortable than our own bed. Dining: What a great experience. We had requested early dining but our confirmation showed we were on a waitlist for it. After contacting a friend who works for Carnival (Thanks, John!!) and requesting a table for two, we were happy to see that our request was granted and we had early dining with our table for two. On the first night our maitre d (Desi) introduced herself, said that John had forwarded our request which she was happy to accommodate. She even said she had a table for two that had opened at a better location in the dining room and offered it to us. We checked it out, and moved to it the following night. What a great decision. Here we had a waiter (Demir from Croatia) and his assistant (Budi from the Philippians) that really raised the bar of superior service. We were never at a want for anything, they made sure of it. All cruises should be forewarned, in order to meet our level of service on this cruise, you better bring your "A" game. On one night we enjoyed the specialty Nouveau Steakhouse. What a meal!! The food and service were excellent. We were celebrating our 25th Anniversary and everything was perfect. Activities: It seems that there was something for everyone on board. We enjoyed the casino quite a bit. I played Texas Hold'em poker and Blackjack mostly. While I would have preferred a live, dealer dealt poker game, the electronic version was alright. They only had one table, so only 10 people could play at a time. There where times when there were people waiting, so another machine might be in order. Shows: We attended one show "Jazz Hot" on the first sea day. While the show was a very impressive production, and the dancers and music were all very good, it really wasn't our kind of music. It seemed all the production shows were centered around the Jazz and Big Band theme, instead of a bigger variety of music, so we didn't attend the other shows. Debarkation: Again, a very smooth process. We left our room about 7:30 to have breakfast on the Lido deck. We found a nice table by the windows to eat and wait our turn. The Cruise Director, Stu did a wonderful job in explaining the process and keeping everyone informed of its progress. We were off the ship about 9:30, collected our luggage, proceeded through customs and were on a bus back to the airport very quickly. Again, it was a good decision to purchase the transfers as there was a very long line of passengers waiting for taxis. I just wish the airport had been a smooth. Long lines at the ticket counters and the security checkpoints, our plane with Southwest had mechanical problems, and we left about a hour late, but hey, not everything in life can go smoothly, right? Overall Impression: For our first cruise, WE LOVED IT!! We already put money down for a future cruise on Carnival. It took a little getting used to the sounds and movements of the ship, but after a couple of days, we hardly noticed it. Guess we had to discover our 'sea legs'. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Itinerary: 12/6 - 12/10; San Diego, to Cabo San Lucas (for the day), and back to San Diego. Mas: The service (mostly); Nouveau Steakhouse. Mas o Menos: The food Menos: The constant sales pitches; lousy TV; no bar ... Read More
Itinerary: 12/6 - 12/10; San Diego, to Cabo San Lucas (for the day), and back to San Diego. Mas: The service (mostly); Nouveau Steakhouse. Mas o Menos: The food Menos: The constant sales pitches; lousy TV; no bar food?! I will start with my rave reviews. Our waiter, Melvin, and our stateroom steward, Hery, were excellent. Lighthearted conversational exchanges, and serious attention to good service, describe my experience of them. They were a joy. My second rave goes to the Nouveau Steakhouse. I had brought a bottle of champagne to enjoy, which the staff had placed in an ice bucket, at our table and ready to go. A nice touch. The service was impeccable: attentive, but not hovering. The only demerit was that the dress code, stressed to me when I made our reservation, was apparently overlooked for a neighboring table, the diners at which had donned logo T-shirts, jeans and tennis shoes for their steakhouse evening. That one glitch aside, the food was delicious, across the board. I give an extra thumbs-up for my porterhouse steak, which was tender and done to medium-rare perfection, and my wife's surf and turf was equally delightful (according to her; I was way to busy with my giant porterhouse to steal a bite). Eating at the steakhouse, while an extra expense that I dithered about spending, was worth every penny. Now to the not-so-good. "Raffle" is a code word for "sales pitch," on this vessel. We put our names in for the spa raffle, and the process was interminable, with constant punctuations of descriptions of spa and gym services. It was an investment of 30 minutes, all told, for nothing more than a discounted massage and facial for my wife. Most of the service on-board was very good, but there was one glaring exception. My wife was allowed in to the dining room on the third morning, along with two other diners, right at the cut-off time (10:00, I think). It was stressed to her that the kitchen would close soon, so she ordered for me. This was all well and good, but the staff proceeded to serve us with uncharacteristic indifference. When one of the other diners at our table said, in a very nice way, that she wasn't happy with her eggs, I had to step in to let the waiter know that she should get them re-cooked to her satisfaction. I requested a bagel, and without having chosen what kind, had a toasted bagel more or less dumped on my plate. Coffee wasn't refilled without request.... My feeling is that, if one is seated, one is not unreasonable in expecting solicitous service. I mean, the food is not great; it's the service that makes dining enjoyable. Which brings me to the food. Other than the steakhouse, the food was just so-so, on the Spirit--often tepid and not well seasoned. The eggs over easy were good, as was the Indian fare I ate on the first night. Across the board, the desserts were too sweet and/or otherwise failed (WAY too much caramelized sugar on the creme brulee; no flame on my cherries jubilee), and the bread was often stale and not offered often enough. And what's with no bar food? Not even nuts or pretzels? Frankly, I would have bought more drinks if I'd been able to snack while I was at it. My last "menos": the lousy TV. It was an old box TV, not a flat-screen, but, more than that, it was IMPOSSIBLY slow. The interactive menus were a joke. I only tried one time to deal with that "offering." The regular TV was OK, but only OK: response was slow, and channel selection sucked. No ESPN, and hardly any stations. I ended up watching the movies we'd brought, and the GPS station showing the ship's progress. I don't think I'll be cruising again. It was a fair amount of money for less than I'd expected. Plus, there's the sea to contend with. While the trip to Cabo was really nice, seas got heavier and heavier on the way back, to the point where the show was canceled and there were sick bags placed around the ship. Frankly, I'd rather be on land...or on a sailboat. :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Embarkation went really smooth once we got to the ship after fog delays in flying into San Diego. We boarded the ship at apx 12:15 and were told our rooms would be ready at 1:00pm so we took this time to purchase our first drink from the ... Read More
Embarkation went really smooth once we got to the ship after fog delays in flying into San Diego. We boarded the ship at apx 12:15 and were told our rooms would be ready at 1:00pm so we took this time to purchase our first drink from the bar and Coke cards for those that wanted them and then headed to our first meal on Lido Deck. We found the layout to be quite confusing with all the stations and people coming from all directions. We looked forward to the Oriental station as it was our favorite on out last cruise and were not disappointed on this cruise either. The Deli station always seemed to be a hit as well as the Grill. The other stations always seemed to serve the same thing so that was new as in the past there seemed to be more variety. Found a very limited supply of fresh pineapple but when we found it it was delicious. Rooms were ready at 1:00 just as we were told so we dropped off our carry on items and began exploring the ship. Found the layout of this ship to be great, I never got lost and my husband thought that was something as it was the first time. The decor of the ship is bizarre to say the least, very explicit so if traveling with children you might find yourself explaining things to them quite often. Ship seemed a little worn and dated. Balcony was small but served its purpose to sit out and enjoy the ocean breeze, wish there would have been more sun as I think I would have used it more. Food - Overall I found it to be more that satisfactory and a good variety of choices. We chose to eat in the main dining room for breakfast most mornings and found the service and food to be good. We ate most of our lunches in port but grabbed food also on Lido Deck...first cruise I never went to the grill for a hamburger or hotdog so can't comment on how good they were. We ate one lunch in the main dining room and it was wonderful had fish and chips and shared BBQ ribs which were fabulous throughout the cruise. For dinner we at early seating with Donald as our Waiter and we couldn't have asked for a better waiter he was wonderful and we looked forward to spending a couple of hours with him each evening. We celebrated his birthday as well as 4 others in our group on this cruise. The maitre de was so much fun we ran into her quite often during the cruise and she was pleasant with lots of fun stories to tell. She mentioned that this was the first cruise with the menu we had and asked for suggestions and our group said that they felt it gave a great selection, my suggestion was that I wanted souffle and had waited all cruise and on our last night we were served souffle not sure if it was scheduled that way or if she had it added either way I enjoyed. Steak House - What a beautiful atmosphere and the staff was great until time to get our check and we had to wait quite a long time. The selection was wonderful, they cooked to perfection the way each of the 12 in our party ordered their steak. The porterhouse seemed to be the favorite selection. I had a New York Strip and shared with some of the guys as it was too much for me. I found the flavor of the steak to be wonderful but it seemed to lack some seasoning that I am used to. The fillet also was said to lack real flavor. Only one person felt that it was not worth the $30 pp. We would go to their steak house again on a future cruise which is something we could not say on previous cruises and the use of their steakhouses. Entertainment - They need to really step it up in this area we all felt and so did the majority of those we talked to. We all felt that for a Carnival Cruise encouraging families to travel together they only seemed to offer adult comedy, four shows daily and 1 or 2 PG rated shows which I felt took it too far. In the production shows the girls are dressed scampi in thongs, see through coats etc. I am not a prude but I do appreciate great entertainment and a variety and this ship did not offer it. The final Legend Show was the best however it was also made crude by the staff with their production numbers. I think they need to realize that families do travel and we don't need to be shown crude entertainment. Late night comedy for those that want is great and I have enjoyed several shows but taking adult comedy from comedy to just crude is not entertainment to me and I heard this comment throughout the cruise as people said they walked out. So Carnival step it up in your production and variety to offer your guests as your game shows were on the adult side as well. The other entertainment offered just wasn't that great. I like to sit and listen to music while out by the pool and that was virtually non existent. I felt the best music was played in the Casino and I heard others say the same and then others that said they wished he would shut up so too each our own. I just felt if they had him somewhere else on the ship people could have danced to his country music. The guy in the atrium area was awful. The person in charge of Karaoke was horrible no personality at all. Stu and Pip were horrible and not very people friendly, they acted tired and like we were just in their way. On other cruises the cruise directors encouraged participation and these two I think hoped no one would participate. Casino and Bingo - The Blackjack tournament is getting to be a joke lots of participants yet the cruise line and casino keep the cash and give out a measly $500 to the winner. Don't know how the Texas Hold-em Tournament was in payout but it was fun to watch. Bingo was a complete joke they give out one 3 game strip for $20 and usually only played one game and the prize money was so skimpy. I played the one day when you played 7 games for $20 but again you only got one strip of 3 games and played all 7 games on the same strip and pay outs were horrible. When someone won they never yelled Bingo or got excited in any way...come on you did win something get a little excited. Also they had a drawing for a free cruise...this used to be a Bingo game....you bought 10 tickets for $20 and then they drew out a number and you had to be present to win. The first number the person wasn't there and then the person that won just waved their hand never got excited like they win a cruise everyday!! Come on people if you are going to play a game play with enthusiasm and have some fun the cruise directors were dull enough we didn't need to buy into their dull drum. Other than that the casino paid our group as a whole pretty good, coming home with money is always a plus. Overall rating is a 3* for the cruise. Room steward wasn't the greatest and the entertainment was horrible. Disembarkation was a joke they acted like it was the first ship they had ever disembarked. For those international people that seem to hold up the process on every cruise either stop cruising or pay attention and follow directions. For the staff disembarking we are tired of hearing it is not your fault you are in control take control. Biggest complaint by many was no place to gather and play board games with family as the only table large enough were in the dining room and it became frustrating when people wanted to eat and couldn't find a table for all the groups playing games....I admit we were one of them but our family and friends love to play games and there was no other place on the ship to do so. We planned our next cruise while on board and will be switching cruise lines for that one but we will give Carnival another try if the price is right and the time and itinerary are what we are looking for. We met some of the greatest people on this cruise and hope to cruise with them again. That is one of the reasons we like to cruise as we meet some of the most wonderful people that we probably would have never been given the opportunity to meet otherwise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
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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