My grandmother used to go on cruises all the time and as kids, we would go down to circular quay to see her off. So, of course i always wanted to go on a cruise. The opportunity finally arrived and I had 4 set criteria when booking. It ... Read More
My grandmother used to go on cruises all the time and as kids, we would go down to circular quay to see her off. So, of course i always wanted to go on a cruise. The opportunity finally arrived and I had 4 set criteria when booking. It didn't matter where the boat travelled, how long it was for and no thought was given to any drinks deal or shore excursions or mini bar or private bathroom or if there was a swimming pool or anything else. I wasn't thinking about anything else but these
. Must be within my budget
- Absolutely must depart from the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.
- Absolutely must have a balcony
- Absolutely must have a double bed.
From reading, I already had the idea that there was only single beds but they could be put together to form a double bed. This thought nearly backfired. To get the best deal possible, I chose guaranteed balcony, thinking it didn't matter about the room as it would have a balcony and I could have the beds put together and the boat would depart from Circular Quay so everything met. Unfortunately, after I had already paid the money for the cruise, the paperwork came through and said guaranteed balcony room, "Twin Beds Do Not Convert to Queen". The paperwork also noted that my room number may not be allocated until day of boarding. About 2 days later though, a room upgrade notice came through with my room number 6149 and noted on the paperwork "Convertible Twins"
Multiple people on board told me that Carnival is good but P&O is better but to appreciate the difference, I needed to travel on P&O. I also met multiple other people on board who had sailed on many other ships and had found their home at Carnival.
It was my first cruise. I was happy with my room, happy with my balcony and happy with the ship.
Embarkation was easy. I had chosen 1pm to 1.30pm. As usual, I arrived hours early. I was there at about 11.30am. Saw the luggage drop off point. As I walked into the drop off area, a man approached me and took my bag off me. i was then able to go and eat lunch with my sister while we waited for the check in. At about 12.45 or so, when I was getting ready for my 1pm, the lady at the door said i could go in now. There was a huge queue to go through immigration but the queue moved very fast. Then the next queue was the check in again a huge queue that moved very fast. Because I had already checked in online, all they had to do was give me my sail and sign card.
When I walked onto the ship, there were people milling around every where. I had no idea what to do so just went and found my cabin. My luggage was at the door. I opened the door put the luggage on the bed and started filming the room
Because of comments online, I had made a decision before boarding that I would not be using the internet as it is too expensive and slow. Well it was way too expensive in my opinion so i never used it. Some people told me they used it mid cruise to keep in touch. Pay for 24 hours, use it in the afternoon then check for replies the next morning.
I had this idea that with more than 2000 passengers on board I would never get into a swimming pool or a spa bath but in the serenity area (for 18 yrs and over), although there were always people in the spa bath, there was hardly anyone in the pool. Then 2 times out of 4 visits to the gym (for 18yrs and over), there was no one in the spa bath there.
I paid for bottomless bubbles but would not do it again. $79.75 for the 11 day cruise ($7.25 per day). A can of soft drink was only $2.75. I only averaged about 2 cans a day and only then because I had paid for the bottomless bubbles. There was really no need for any soft drinks because
- For free in the morning there was juice at the lido deck buffets
- For free all day from the lido deck buffets, there was ice, water, real lemonade, iced tea, coffee, hot tea, dairy milk, soy milk and hot chocolate.
- The lido deck buffets used special cups which you saw being used all over the ship in places such as the fountain cafe and the Pharaohs Palace. So obviously other passengers were not wasting money on drinks
If you still wanted a can of soft drink, you could just pay for a soft drink at one of the bars
I laughed my head off in the comedy club. Some one on cruise critic complained that they used the F word in the comedy club. Well I guess there should have been plenty of warning. The shows were rated PG and 18+. In the 18+ comedy sessions, you should expect way more than the F word.
I enjoyed every show I saw in Pharaohs Palace. The best show for me was the lady Magician. I think it was called Miss Houdini.
I like trivia competitions and there were about 5 trivia competitions every day including a super trivia that ran the whole tour. Our team came third in the super trivia. The prize for each trivia competition was a piece of shi(p) on a stick
I enjoyed playing mini golf, when it was available. There was often a sign stopping access to deck 11 saying too windy. This also where the exercise track is. Not that I would jog on an exercise track but I do like to walk for exercise so deck 10 became my exercise track. I am guessing a complete circuit is about 250 metres. As I was walking on deck 10, I would sometimes be passed by joggers.
There was so much to do on board that there was not enough time to do all the things I wanted, especially at night. So, I had to prioritise and leave out the least most favourite things.
I read a review on cruise critic where some one complained about weight challenged men gorging themselves on the Lido deck. I thought of that every time I filled my plate at the Lido deck buffets. There was a lot to choose from, and If I could eat it, I did. I made sure I got my moneys worth!
I had issues but they were all sorted.
1. It was raining when I dropped off my bag. When it arrived at my room, it looked like it had been for a swim. I don't know where they put it after i dropped it off but the drop off was under cover. Other people had issues with wet luggage too. All clothes in the top of the bag were "partially" wet. So, I hung them up in the room to dry and emptied everything out of the bag so it could dry out too. I am not sure how it came in in conversation at the Guest Services but they immediately offered me free laundering, including ironing, for all the affected clothes. But I declined and told them the clothes would be dry in the morning anyway.
2. On the second morning, after exiting the bathroom, there was water in the room near the front door. I rang Gerald the room steward who came immediately and arranged for the problem to be fixed. When I arrived in the room later that day, I had a note appologising and a free fruit basket with wine and cheese.
3. On the third morning I had water in the room again. This time they gave me $125 credit to my account.
4.I am lactose intolerant. Breakfast and lunch dining were not an issue at all. There were way more choices than i could eat. It was just an issue in the evening. I advised carnival before hand and before sailing received an acknowledgement on a Gift and Services summary noted as follows "01 5504 Lactose Intolerant" Naturally, I assumed that on my first evening in the dining room, they would already know about this. They didn't. The waiter went through the menu with me and told me what I could and couldn't eat and I made my selections. He said that the next night, I would have a separate menu. The next night with the same waiter, his comment in question form.... Oh, you have an allergy sir? No special menu and we went through the same thing again. What was actually happening is that all the food i wanted, i couldn't eat and all the food i could eat, i didn't want. When on the third night my meal was a bland pork steak with nothing to help it go down, I decided that was it. I would just dine at the lido deck. This did not turn out as expected.
My second or so night dining on the lido deck instead of dining room, as often happened, the servers behind the counter would put the food on the plates. So a very pleasant and helpful gentleman says to me try some of these balls, they are very nice. I asked if they have milk or cream. Sorry sir yes. So, I said well lets start with some rice. The next item. sorry
sir. The next item some peas. Then the next then the next then the next and so on every single item at the buffet had milk or cream in it. I ended up with a plate of rice and peas. I went down to guest services to ask them where I could find food to eat that i did not have to pay for. The lady at guest services gave me a free $10 drink voucher and asked me to take a seat at the bar while they sorted it out. When they got back to me, they asked me to see the maitre De in the dining room. I said I would rather not. They then said go straight back up to the lido deck and ask for the assistant Maitre De. Which I did. He was very helpful. he arranged for some food for that night then brought out the dining room menu for the next night and said tell me what you want to eat and they will make it for me without and milk products. There was nothing on the menu i wanted to eat. I thanked him for his time and said I would look after myself. The assistant Matre De did follow up with me every time I saw him after that to make sure I was getting on OK
I already knew about Guy's burger joint. I already knew it closed at 5.30pm but 5.30pm was an acceptable dining time for me. So for every other night, except for the last night, I ate at Guy's Burger Joint. I got the plain burger from Guys Burger Joint then filled it with toppings from the toppings bar. The toppings bar had mushrooms, raw onions, fried onions, bacon pieces, lettuce, tomato etc. I was very happy. However, if I still felt a bit hungry afterward, I would wander into the buffet and see what there was to fill up on
Filling up is where the maitre de from the dining room found me on the second to last night. She said she had tried to contact my room. which was true, there was a message on the phone which I had not retrieved. Then after no contact with me by phone, she decided to look for me in the ship. She said she contacted the assistant maitre de to see if he knew where her James was and the assistant maitre de had said your James is here. The Maitre De from the dining room said If I came back to the dining room, she would cook me what ever i wanted. Starting that night. I was already full but we agreed I would dine in the dining room the next night. I asked for calamares as the entree and pork adobo as the main meal. There was so much squid in the bowl when it came out it was a meal in itself. They had run out of pork but brought out the most delicious chicken adobo I have ever tasted.
5.I was twice charged for things I never had. Because some one had complained on cruise critic about over charging, I decided to check charges on my account every night when i got back to my room. This was easy enough. Turn on the TV, choose check account from the menu, enter folio number from sail and sign card, confirm name. Then every transaction since day 1 was shown, including the balance. So on about the first night the comedy club was open, there was my drink I ordered followed by a charge for a drink I didn't order. You have to sign for all the drinks. However, at the comedy club, the waiter does not take your sail and sign card, he just notes the folio number off the card. So i presume at the register, they inputed my folio number by mistake for some one else drink. Anyway, it was instantly refunded by guest service.
6. The next time there was an extra charge on the account, I went to guest services. They said it was for a can of coke and a glass of wine in the dining room. I informed them that I had bottomless bubbles so had no need to pay for a can of coke and that I had stopped using the dining room and the Assistant Maitre De could confirm that. They instantly refunded the money but I believe this also triggered action with the Dining room Maitre De. Everytime I had an issue, Guest services would follow up to ensure that the matter had been resolved satisfactorily
You don't have to use the shore excursions offered by carnival spirit. But if you are late back from a trip arranged by yourself, you wave goodbye to the ship. If you are late back on an excursion arranged through the ship, they hold the ship.
I liked the Jewell of Fiji tour but checking on line, it appears I could have done it for about aud$50 less than the cruise charged me. There was no choice but visit the beach on Mare. And even then, we were told not to swim or snorkel because there were stinging jelly fish that day.The Noumea in a nutshell tour is a complete waste of space. On arrival in
Noumea, there was an announcement that for anyone who had not arranged a tour, there is an 8 stop aud$20 tour you could do. I would have much preferred that.
Disembarkation was way easier than i expected. We were asked for our preferences near the start of the cruise. We had to indicate if we had flights to meet, if we wanted to take off our own luggage or if the would do it ourselves. We had to Indicate a preferred time to disembark between about 7am and 9am. I said I wanted 9am and would take off my own luggage. When the assignment came through. It was 8.30 with a departure zone they would call out when it was time. There was also a set of instructions. I was a bit disappointed with the time but when i attended the disembarkation briefing, they said they hoped to have every one off by 9.15 so obviously they would not want people getting off at 9am. In the end, I was walking to the pre departure area about 8.20am when i heard my zone called and instead of getting to sit and wait, walked straight off the ship. In the terminal, they only wanted my landing card and did not even look at my passport. Too bad if i was a terrorist. After exiting the passenger terminal, i took the travelator back up to the level where the taxis are and caught a taxi. I looked at my phone as we drove off in the taxi. It was 8.36am
99 percent of the crew I encountered offered excellent service.
Would I travel on Carnival Spirit again? Most definitely!!
I had difficulty finding pricing before I left, for those who are interested in pricing on board, I made a post at reply number 8 in this thread on trip advisor
Carnival_Spirit_pricing_on_board-Cruises.html Read Less