5 Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Mexican Riviera

This was my first-ever cruise. As of writing this review, I've now gone on a couple more cruises, both with Carnival, and looking back, the 5 day Baja Mexico cruise was a perfect little get-away. The ship was clean, and ... Read More
This was my first-ever cruise. As of writing this review, I've now gone on a couple more cruises, both with Carnival, and looking back, the 5 day Baja Mexico cruise was a perfect little get-away. The ship was clean, and comfortable. The room was clean and just exactly what you'd expect from a cruise ship room. The shows on this ship were particularly good. The cast and crew were very welcoming and friendly. The food was better on Carnival back in 2012 than it has been in recent years. This cruise had an incredible water slide. I'm not someone who enjoys those things normally, but I was peer-pressured into using this water slide and LOVED it. It was a total thrill to drop straight down, and then go over the side of the ship. Since the Spirit, I've been disappointed with the average slides on subsequent ships I've been on! I would recommend the Carnival Spirit to any budget conscious traveler looking for a nice get-away for the price. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The cruise was really great. There were a couple little things that were irritating, so I'll address those first. 1) The decaf on the Lido deck was NOT decaf. It took me 4 days to figure out why I was so jittery. I really enjoy a cup ... Read More
The cruise was really great. There were a couple little things that were irritating, so I'll address those first. 1) The decaf on the Lido deck was NOT decaf. It took me 4 days to figure out why I was so jittery. I really enjoy a cup of decaf at breakfast, but I had to go without. 2) We had a jetted tub in our penthouse suite, which was awesome. The problem was trying to shower in it. There was no way to adjust the shower curtain to keep the water in the tub. After every shower, the bathroom floor was completely soaked. 3)This ship was smaller than others we've been on and there was a LOT more rocking. I was a little queasy for the first 2 days. 4)The dining room was very loud. My Mom is hard of hearing and we got tired of shouting at her over the din. 5) Two of our three closet doors were not working properly causing the closet light to stay on and they were very loud to open. Someone came to fix one of them, but it broke again in a couple days. Those are my only complaints. Our 5 year old enjoyed Camp Carnival well enough. He would have preferred to spend every minute with us, but he seemed happy when we dropped him off and picked him up. He did not resist going and always came back with some art project or face paint. He would often see kids he knew from camp around the ship and was always waving at them. We never left him there for more than 3 hours at a stretch and made sure he got a nap in the cabin every day. He ate pizza for lunch and chicken nuggets for dinner almost every day and he was happy. We brought him to dinner with us in the dining room 6 nights out of 9. He got his food when we got our appetizers, then we took him to camp around 7 while we finished our dinner in peace. I used the exercise area 3 times, once for free weights, once for yoga ($12) and once for the 7 am free stretch class. It was fine, although the yoga wasn't worth it. We enjoyed walking on deck 10 several times, we played minigolf, and my husband played basketball. We also tried the waterslide. A little tame for me, but my 5 year old loved it. The pool was fine also, we swam 3 times. Hot tub was more of a warm tub, but adequate. We went to two song and dance shows, I enjoyed them. We also saw a magician and a juggler and some comedians. Normal cruise ship stuff, what I expected. We wanted our son in bed by 10 every night, so we didn't really go to any bars or dance clubs. We are not party people. We brought 4 bottles of wine on board for 6 adults and I only purchased 2 other drinks. The food was outstanding, better than ever. Loved everything I tried and a great variety. They make the BEST pastries and baked goods. I ate lots of fish and shrimp and too much desert. I did try the Spa Carnival options several times and they were all good. My pants still fit when I put them on to fly home, so I guess I did OK. We went to the Nouveau Steakhouse for Valentine's dinner. It was very good and a better atmosphere than the Empire room, but I don't know if it was worth the extra money. It was a splurge for Valentine's Day, we probably won't do it again. My husband has wheat intolerance so he avoids it when possible. They were extremely diligent in making sure everything he ordered in the dining room was wheat/gluten free. He said the gluten free pasta was the best he ever had. We pretty much blew our budget on the penthouse suite cabin, so we tried to get by cheap in the ports. We didn't book any excursions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
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 Valentine Cruise This was our fifth cruise on Carnival and our first 8 day cruise. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, across from the Cruise Terminal, and what a wonderful experience it was to see the cruise ships ... Read More
Carnival Spirit Valentine Cruise This was our fifth cruise on Carnival and our first 8 day cruise. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, across from the Cruise Terminal, and what a wonderful experience it was to see the cruise ships sailing into and out of the bay right in front of you. Be sure you have time to visit San Diego either before or after your cruise. We arrived at the terminal about 11:45 and the embarkation process was very fast. My one complaint was that they required everyone to remove their belts. I don't even do this at the airport and because of this I lost my cell phone holder. It fell and was kicked into another area. We were on board the ship by 12:30 and having lunch not long after. The rooms were ready around 1:30. We sailed Super Bowl Sunday and the ship was prepared for it. Several area was set up with TVs and Big Screens and the large screen in the Pharaohs Lounge also showed the game. They also postponed the mandatory safety meeting until the next day at 10:15 am. The sea was choppy the first say and the last day but was not very uncomfortable. Food: All the meals were great and well presented. The first day was probably the least favorite but it was still very good. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido Grill but we had dinner in the Main Dinning Room every night. Our main concern was Anytime Dining. This is something new on Carnival and they share part of the upper MDR. This caused a delay in the seating in the MDR on a couple occasions. Carnival may need to look at not seating Anytime Dining at the same time as Set Time dinning. They may need to also find another entrance for the Anytime Dinning. Other than this experience, we enjoyed the Main Dining Room and our servers. We especially enjoy the assistant waiter, Mirko, who was a shining ray of light each evening. Sea Days: We have always looked forward to our sea days and especially on this cruise with four of them. If you have sailed the Caribbean then get ready for a great ride. The Pacific Ocean does not always live up to its name. On this cruise we experienced some very choppy and strong seas and there were many that felt the effects more than others. My wife and I did not have any problem. As one review has already posted, the water in the Lido Pool splashed out one night and I was one of those whose feet almost got wet. The Lido Party continued even with the rocking and rolling created by the swells and waves. Be sure to bring your binoculars, cameras and a good eye to see the dolphins, whales and other sea creatures. We saw whales and dolphins as we passed Cabo San Lucas. Entertainment: We skip some of the shows but did catch the Head Liner Singer who was a friend of one of our group. The New Orleans show was quite good and some of the special effects were remarkable considering the movement of the ship. Stu, the CD, was excellent and always remember my wife's name after only one introduction. The bar staff in the Atrium Lounge is excellent and a special thanks to Alex for his personal attention. I would also like to say thanks to Allen David for his great service on the Lido. Ports of Call: These were all new ports for us and we had some anticipation over visiting Acapulco. We found this port to be very clean and very busy. It is a busy center of life and culture. We visited the Fort and Zocolo. In Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa we took a taxi to Playa de Ropa and Patys Mar y mar Restaurant for a day at the beach. We found the beach very clean and beautiful. Patys is a great place to stay and enjoy the scenery. Manzanillo is a working seaport and you must leave the docks to see the city. We took a ship excursion, Magic Pueblos, and traveled to Comala and the Colima area. We visited a coffee processing area, a museum, a section of highway where it appears that you are rolling up hill without any power and the city of Comala. We had lunch at a fantastic restaurant in Suchitlan. Debarkation: Since we had a late flight so we tried Luggage Express and it worked well except for one piece being place on the wrong plane but arriving in the correct city. We took a taxi to Seaport Village and spent the morning there. We then took a taxi to the airport around 1 for our 4 pm flight home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
DH (Wolfie48) and I just returned from a cruise on the Spirit with 26 of our friends. Here is a review of some of our activities, but with such a large group, we tend to do less around the ship and spend time with our group instead. ... Read More
DH (Wolfie48) and I just returned from a cruise on the Spirit with 26 of our friends. Here is a review of some of our activities, but with such a large group, we tend to do less around the ship and spend time with our group instead. Embarkation was really easy, we left the Holiday Inn Bayside about 10:00 and parked across the street from the pier and walked over, dropped our checked luggage with the porters in the middle of the pier (the ship was on the far side of the pier away from the building). We waited inside for about 30 minutes and then started going through security and checking in. Fortunately we were in the first row of seats so were able to check in right after the VIPs and handicapped and since the computers were down and they were doing everything manually. I think the people at the end of the lines had to wait quite a while. We then waited for 15 minutes or so inside and then they started boarding, we had to walk back outside across the pier to the ship. We had several cruise newbies in the group and we were hoping we could enter directly into the lobby for the wow factor, but that was not to be. Since the Spirit had just returned from dry dock, there were no passengers disembarking, so we were able to go right to our cabins and drop off our stuff and then we met up at the fantail bar for drinks and lunch. The ship was in really good shape and had new carpeting almost everywhere (lots of carpet fuzz balls all the time). Some said the mattresses were not new as promised, but our bed was very comfortable. Everyone in our group was very happy with their various cabins (several suites, but mostly balcony cabins, and one interior). We had happy hour every day, mostly in our cabin (7258 with the extra long balcony), but also in a couple of the suites. We were very near an elevator/stair area, but heard no noise. Since we've never been on the Spirit before (the Pride though), it was hard to tell what was new as a result of dry dock. There are 2 new flat screen TVs at the fantail bar that had sports and/or news on all the time. The aft adult hot tub was out of service after the first day, but the pool was working. The weather was pretty cold the first and last days, but quite warm in the ports. The ocean was extremely smooth, almost lake glassy sometimes. There was a bit of movement on the last return day, but not bad at all. The whole group sat together at late seating in the dining room every night (except an occasional group or couple that went to the supper club on certain nights). Everyone in our group thought the dining room food was excellent. Several in our group ordered the premium wine package, and found some good wines to enjoy with dinner. We all ate breakfast and lunch in various places. DH and I mostly ate at the grill, or pizza, or deli, or salad bar and everything was really good. I asked around our group for their opinions and only had a couple folks say the bread on their deli sandwiches was a little stale, otherwise, everyone loved the food. And there was the ever popular soft serve ice cream! The passengers on the cruise were of all ages, babies to seniors. Even though this is considered spring break, there were no problems with any spring break groups. The CD, Marky Marc, said there were 350 kids on board, but we saw very few of them except in organized Camp Carnival activities. Marky Marc was a good CD, not overwhelming, but there when you expected him to be. His morning show with Brandon was pretty funny, lots of corny jokes. We hung out at the casino bar after dinner several nights, the entertainer there, Doug, was good and quite entertaining. DH and I didn't go to the new show in the showroom, but many in our group did and said it was excellent. We went to both the Captain's cocktail party (drinks but no appetizers anymore) and the past guest party (drinks and appetizers) and had a good time at both. Debarkation was also relatively easy. Most of our group had debarkation number 18 (except the suites who got number 2) and we were off the ship by about 10:00 which was a little late only because several of the non-U.S. citizens were paged over and over to meet immigration so they could clear the ship for the rest of us. They had to make 2 announcements in German because a German man never showed up, the 2nd announcement for him was when they called our number. The Elation was also in port, so it was pretty crowded on the pier and street, but since we parked just across the street, it was easy to get to the car and out of the area. A friend who had to catch a shuttle to one of the cheaper airport parking lots waited an hour and a half to finally get on a shuttle. Once we got our luggage we had to wait in a huge line just to hand in our customs declaration forms to a Carnival employee and get out the door, as usual there were no customs people there checking people through. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
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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