Sail Date: December 2011
We can't blame the cruise line for the bad weather, however we have been on smother riding trains than this ship. In the MDR even in smooth seas there was always vibration including the silver and china (as if the screws were out of ... Read More
We can't blame the cruise line for the bad weather, however we have been on smother riding trains than this ship. In the MDR even in smooth seas there was always vibration including the silver and china (as if the screws were out of balance). We could even feel the vibration in our cabin at night (mid ship deck 6). It was obvious the staff has been cut as the dining service really suffered. Our cabin was fine and well maintained by our steward Gusti however the chairs on our balcony had dried paint all over them. Of course the minibar took up the whole refrig so we put the cans overpriced soda, water and beer in a cabinet so that WE could use the fridge. The food was the absolute worst we have ever experienced on a cruise!!!! Most of the MDR dishes were beautiful to look at, but horrible to eat. (Prime rib covered in a brown gravy that was NOT au jus; desserts that were for the most part tasteless.) Many of the same items were repeated several times. It's pretty telling when we looked forward to being in port so that we could get a descent meal (even fast food was better). Lack of entertainment and interesting things to do added to our displeasure. However, one of our biggest complaints besides the food was the MOB of photographers wanting to pose us to sell hundreds of VERY COSTLY pictures. (It reminded us of the gauntlet of booths at tourist spots trying to get you to buy their wares.) Longer stays in port would have been better as well; the short stop in Kona where passengers had to be tendered on the lifeboats was a real waste of time. Some overnight stays would be better and give you some real time to see these Beautiful Islands... Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This cruise allows you to see all of the major Hawaiian islands, which was the selling point for us for our honeymoon, and did not dissapoint. The islands are amazing. We left Philadelphia at 7:30 AM on April 17, 2010 and had a 6 hour ... Read More
This cruise allows you to see all of the major Hawaiian islands, which was the selling point for us for our honeymoon, and did not dissapoint. The islands are amazing. We left Philadelphia at 7:30 AM on April 17, 2010 and had a 6 hour flight to Seattle...a layover in Seattle...and then another 6 hour flight to Honolulu. Very long day of traveling was worth it. We started our vacation with 5 full days in Oahu before the start of the cruise. We are so happy that we did this, this was our favorite part of our entire trip. Oahu is amazing! It has so much more to offer than just Honolulu and Waikiki. I feel bad for the people who only flew into Oahu on 4/23 and only had the 2 ship days for Oahu. From 4/17 to 4/21 we stayed in a condo on the windward side of Oahu (the "country" side) that I found on vrbo.com. The condo was newly remodeled, with a wraparound balcony, full kitchen, bedroom, and RIGHT on a beach so secluded that we felt like it was our own! View of the ocean, beach and moutains. By far the most amazing view I have ever had on a vacation. SO different from the hussle and bussle of Waikiki. What we did while on this side--Kualoa Ranch Hummer tour to see Lost and movie filming locations. Amazing! So beautiful and scenic. Worth doing even if you are not a Lost fan (we aren't). Surf lesson on North Shore (hubby lost his ring for 3 hours in the Ocean but he didn't give up and we found it! True Story!), a lot of fun. Dinner at Ola at Turtle Bay resort, where Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed. Great food. A lot of just hanging out and relaxing at the condo and the beach that was there. We had a rental car and used one of our windward days to do the Pearl Harbor Home of the Brave tour (they weren't open the days we were staying on Honolulu side). Home of the Brave was a long day, but totally worth it. Got to see a lot of WWII sites, not just Pearl Harbor. On the 21st we checked out of our condo and went to stay in Waikiki for 2 nights at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Had an amazing view of the beach and Diamondhead. We wanted to experience both sides of the island. Waikiki is totally different in every way from windward and north shore. But we enjoyed it. Ate at Duke's and Yardhouse (both great) and went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (awesome!). We loved our 5 days in Oahu before our cruise! On the 23rd we left the Hilton and went to the Aloha Tower cruise ship pier. About a 10 minute taxi ride (but avoid taxis in Hawaii if you can! very expensive and some of the cabbies will rip you off by keeping you in the car for a long time on purpose). Embarkation was EASY. Very organized and moved quickly. They even let us on early (got there before 1pm). We were on the ship in 30 minutes at most. Aloha Tower is a very nice pier (some of the other Hawaii piers look more industrialized and aren't as nice). Now I knew going in that we would be some of the only younger people on the ship, but I was even surprised that it seemed about 85% of the cruise were over 60 years old. I don't have a problem with older people—I love them! But by the end of the cruise we were wishing for some younger companions, and more activities geared toward our age group. We are in our mid 20s and it was very hard meeting people our own age. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The Spirit overall is a nice ship. It always appeared clean and I didn't think it was falling apart (some other reviews have said this). It didn't seem dated to me (just the TVs!). We never had long waits getting on or off the ship, even when tendered. We had an aft extended balcony stateroom. The balcony was a nice size, and so was our room. I thought the bed was comfy, and the bathroom was a decent size. It looks like some child had scribbled on the couch in our room (or that is what it seemed like), the seat had pen scribble on it. That was kind of annoying. You would think Carnival would clean it up, replace the cushion. Oh well. The TV in the rooms are dated. They really should be upgrading to widescreen flat screens. The picture and sound quality was poor. We had better picture and sound quality on the mini-screens on our flights. Rented a movie off the TV for $8 and it wasn't worth it because of the quality of the TV. Channel selection was OK but not great. Overall, aside from the pen mess and the TV, we were pleased with our room. The cleaning staff was nice, and did a good job of taking care of our room (and of course the towel animals were great!). If anything, they were a little over eager to clean. We had to always have the Privacy sign outside our door whenever we were there, for fear that they would barge in (happened a couple of times early on in the cruise). DINING- Lido deck food was average. Some of it was pretty good, some of it wasn't very good. The pizza was horrible! We love 24 hour pizza and ice cream, but the pizza was never good..seemed like it was always under cooked. The Empire dining room was our favorite part of the entire cruise. We really looked forward to dinner each night. We did the Your Time dining, which was great...got to go to dinner whenever we wanted, had a different table each night, and didn't have to sit with strangers. Got to sit just the 2 of us, perfect for our honeymoon. Food was generally always very good. Servers and hosts were friendly and good at their jobs. We did the $30 a person Steakhouse one night and didn't think it was that great. We had better steak in the regular dining room. And the Steakhouse tried to be way too fancy in its presentation, kind of pretentious...I mean come on—it's Carnival...the Funships! Be fun! If I wanted a snobby cruise I wouldn't be on a Carnival ship! Steakhouse not worth it in my opinion—go to the regular dining room! We had different servers each night, but Martina was our favorite...she suspected it was our honeymoon (correct!) and brought us cake with candles and sang Happy Honeymoon to us! Common areas - Lots of lounges and places to relax. All kinds of different dEcor. Some of it was a bit too loud for my taste, but it's a cruise ship, what do you expect. Dancin' club was awesome. I like dance clubs and this one was great. Too bad it was empty most nights. We did have one fun night there. Pharoh's Palace, where the shows were, was nice. Internet in the library was slow most of the time. But the library was cozy. Casino was a fun time. Entertainment & Activities - this is where the age thing comes into play. We are sure that if we were over 50 we would have had an awesome time on this ship. Most of the activities in the Fun Times seemed to be geared toward the older crowd. We did see a few shows (just OK —the Carnival dancers are good) and played Bingo. One night later on in the cruise, at the first formal night, we finally managed to meet a few couples our own age and hung out with them in the dance club that night. That was a good time. DJ was great. Our 5 days at sea seemed like forever and by the end of the cruise we couldn't wait to go home. It would have been cool if Carnival had a social meet and greet for honeymooners or 20/30 somethings so that we could meet some more people our age. I understand that they are going to gear the cruise activities more for the older crowd since that is the majority, but we were kind of bored. We did a 4 night Bahama Carnival cruise a few years ago and had a blast on that ship. This was a bit dissapointing compared to that. HAWAII PORTS OF CALL We did not do any of the organized Carnival excursions. Most of them were too expensive, if you compare the price you pay for making your own arrangements. I also like the freedom of not being on an organized tour. Arranged our own days for Kauai, Hilo, and the first day in Maui. In hindsight, it would have been worth it to book an excursion in Kona, and maybe the 2nd day in Maui. HONOLULU - The 2nd day on the cruise, we were still in Honolulu, so we decided to do the historic walking tour on our own time. Saw Iolani Palace, and the other sites in the area. Nice day. When the Spirit left the Aloha Tower pier, got some amazing pictures of Honolulu and Waikiki, and Diamondhead. KAUAI - 3rd day of cruise. I booked with Wings Over Kauai Airplane tours. It is a small family run business, and my husband and I were able to go up in our own charter, just the 2 of us and the pilot, in a 4 passenger plane. And it was way cheaper than a helicopter tour! They even provided transportation to and from the airport, and took our picture and gave us a DVD of our tour. Kauai is so beautiful. We got to see a lot of parts of the island that are not accessable by car, including the Napali coastline. Truly breathtaking. I have unbelieveable pictures. Worth every penny. Wish we had more time to spend in Kauai. One day not enough! KONA - 4th day of cruise. We didn't plan anything for Kona, and I wish we had. We left the ship (which was tendered—but this was not a problem and the tendering process was well organized) and decided to just see where the day took us. Kona is like a cute little beach town. Had fun walking around and took a trolley ride down the coast. Pleasant day, but I feel like we should have done more with it. HILO - 5th day of cruise. Planned a full day in Hilo! We rented a car (which I planned in advance) and drove to Akaka Falls, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Rainforest Zoo, and the Black Sand Beach. A full day...we left around 9 and got back on the ship around 5. Everything we saw was beautiful! Decided to skip Volcano since my research said it takes an entire day to get the most out of the park, and I'm not all that interested that I wanted to use our entire day for it. If we are ever back on the Big Island, we'll check it out. MAUI, day 1. 6th day of cruise. Rented a car and drove to Lahaina Town. We had tickets for Old Lahaina Luau and went early to check out historic Lahaina. Loved it! Wish that the ship had docked on this side. Great day! Luau was great! We loved it! Everyone should do a luau in Hawaii. I almost cried at sunset because it was our last real night in the islands. MAUI, day 2. 7th day of cruise. We took a taxi to the nearest beach, which ended up costing us as much as a rental would have cost. Wish I had done another rental this day and went back to a beach in Lahaina. Or even maybe done some kind of whale watching excursion. I think we will be back to Maui because I feel like there is a lot that we would like to do there. 2 days not enough! The last 5 days of the cruise seemed very long. The ship rocked around a lot and sleeping was difficult sometimes. I don't get seasick ever but was sick one entire morning and afternoon. I'm not sure if it was something I ate or the ship rocking. My husband did not get sick, just me. As stated above, we loved the food in the dining room. Enjoyed relaxing, but 5 days at sea when the weather is cold outside and rainy was not fun. We were ready to come home. Loved the islands and the first 7 nights. 12 days just too long for us, with not enough people our age. In the future, we will stick to 7 night cruises. Side note...Vancouver was a sight compared to Hawaii! Beautiful in a whole new way...like Honolulu, only the mountains have snow on them! Kind of interesting to start off a cruise in Honolulu and end up in Vancouver. Disembarking was easy. We booked airport transfers through Carnival and were the 3rd or 4th zone called to get off the ship. Very organized and ran smoothly. Made it to the airport in plenty of time for our noon flight. Overall....it was a good cruise. We did have a good time. I think cruises are what you make of them, and maybe we could have tried harder to be more involved in the various things going on in the ship, but a lot of it didn't appeal to us. We like to hang by the pool, do activities during the day, and party at night and the weather and age range wasn't the best atmosphere for that. Of course I knew it would get colder on the way to Vancouver, but sea day #2 it was already freezing outside! I still love Carnival and cruising, just will not do such a long one in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Our only other Carnival cruise was 15 years ago, a 4 day to the Bahamas. Decided to "jump ship" from Royal Caribbean because of price and itinerary. We got 2 more days and one more port for abour $1000 less per person. ... Read More
Our only other Carnival cruise was 15 years ago, a 4 day to the Bahamas. Decided to "jump ship" from Royal Caribbean because of price and itinerary. We got 2 more days and one more port for abour $1000 less per person. Didn't know for sure if we would regret it or not. No regrets! The ship is smaller that what we are used to, and the decor seemed dark, but I quickly got used to it. Preferred it to the neon you see on some other Carnival ships. Embarkation was a breeze once we got past the long line outside the terminal where we had to schlep our own luggage along for about a half an hour. Didn't like that. Our cabin was clean and spacious with an extended balcony. The cabin smelled fresh, no odor of leftover smoke. There was the occasional smell of food being prepared ( We were under the La Playa buffet...no noise, though). We had numerous maintenance issues that were resolved by contacting our excellent steward, Michael, or guest services. Our A/C was not working the first night and one lamp was stuck on "on" On our first sea day night, we were awakened by a horrible smoke smell that was coming through the A/C vents in the middle of the night. It was contained to our deck(8) and the aft of the ship. After a fair amount of apprehension among ourselves and our neighbors, it was finally explained that no, there was no fire, and yes, the situation was under control. We were told that the garbage incinerator vent had become plugged and it backed up into the A/C system. I was concerned about the smoking issue, having been warned that Carnival attracts smokers because of their more lenient policies. I HATE smoke and am very sensitive to it. Other than the casino, which stunk worse than any ship casino I've been in, there were no problems. They REALLY should try to do something about the ventilation in there. There were some down times, though, when it wasn't too bad, so we could play and DH and I managed to walk out in the plus column for a change! The one thing I thought was sub-par was the food. We are not "foodies" by any means, but do have a certain expectation of cruise ship food. My biggest complaint is that the food was frequently cold, both in the main dining room and at the buffet. Our waiter, while friendly and hard working, seemed inexperienced. On many ships, you barely have to think about what you might need and it magically appears. Not here. Extra requests were always greeted with a positive attitude, but sometimes never happened. Like the extra scoop of stuffing that showed up with my dessert..... Loved the 24 hour ice cream and the 3pm banana splits on the Fantail Deck on sea days! Also loved the deli's reuben sandwiches! Entertainment was really fun, loved the Cruise Director Stu and the Ass't Cruise director Weezie. They had a morning show on TV that was really a hoot....so dorky you had to love it....think of Regis and Kelly in Mayberry. You could call in to win prizes...I think hardly anyone was watching because we came home with a picture frame, an under water camera, and a Carnival terry robe. The production shows were really good, the comedians were pretty good, and the show band was one of the best we've ever cruised with. Truly outstanding. We don't really pay much attention to the show band...they're kind of just "there", but they were really great. On board dance band "High Rise" was also really good..played a wide range of music and the lounge was non=smoking. Perfect! Internet was very slow, but what do you expect out in the middle of the Pacific. Used my Blackberry in ports so I don't know how it was then. Debarkation in Vancouver was super easy. MUCH more relaxing and easy than anything I have experienced on Royal. We could stay in our cabin until 9am, then we left and hung out in the buffet until they called us around 9:30. We were off the ship in no time, and luggage was very easy to find. Customs was a breeze and we were walking around checking out Vancouver by 10:30am. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
My husband and I cruised to Hawaii from Ensenada aboard the Carnival Spirit. We flew to San Diego the night before to insure getting to the pier on time. Little did we know we didn't need to hurry! We were fully aware that we would be ... Read More
My husband and I cruised to Hawaii from Ensenada aboard the Carnival Spirit. We flew to San Diego the night before to insure getting to the pier on time. Little did we know we didn't need to hurry! We were fully aware that we would be bussed from the SD pier to Ensenada but we didn't anticipate that they would not start bussing all 2000+ of us until 5 p.m, that we would have to wait hours to get on the bus, that the bus seats made an airline seat seem spacious,and that, after 3 hours of travel to Ensenada, we would have to sit on the bus another hour before we were hustled onto the ship!!! Okay, I'm done complaining now because the rest of the cruise was great!!! Well, at least the part of it after I spent 1 1/2 days in bed seasick!!! Yes, the cruise was quite rocky and I never had gotten seasick before on our other 2 cruises. We thought our cabin was lovely, enjoyed the balcony,and loved our room steward. We enjoyed dressing up every evening for a wonderful meal in the dining room. I loved getting the opportunity to have beautiful portraits taken of us in our finery. We enjoyed the gym, the swimming pool and for the most part the entertainment. We didn't find ourselves bored at all on the 5 sea days. Arriving at the 4 different ports in Hawaii was fun because we enjoyed waking early to watch the ship sail into port and then we would stand on our balcony and take pictures of the scenery! Hilo, on the Big Island, was our first port. We did not book any tours with Carnival because we did not want to be tied to their schedule and the were expensive. So, on Hilo we hiked up to Akaka Falls which was beautiful, drove to Rainbow Falls, and then visited Coconut Island and Richardson Beach in search of a beautiful Hawaiian beach but did not find those 2 beaches beautiful. The 2nd port was Kona on the Big Island. After we went to church that Sun. morning we drove to Hapuna Beach, which was so beautiful!!! So we spent the afternoon there, swimming and sunning on the beach. The drive there was interesting because there was black lava rock on both sides of the rode all 30 miles there and it was covered with grafitti written with white rock the whole way! The 3rd port day was on Kauai. We drove up to Waimea Canyon which looks like a mimi Grand Canyon. It was beautuful and so worth the drive. The 4th port was Maui. We drove the road to Hana and it was fabulous!! The road is quite curvy but there is something beautiful around every curve! But, beware! You must drive all the way back the same way! But you do get to see everything again!! We spent the night there on Maui so we got a 2nd day there. We went snorkling at Molokini after taking a catamaran ride there.My husband got to snuba and that was his favorite part of the trip. Our last port was Oahua. We had been there before so we had seen most everything we cared to. We did spend the day at Wakiki beach. It is so lovely there, just a great beach.If you want another option for a beatiful beach on Oahua try Kailua Beach. It is wonderful too! Our last evening on the ship was fine. We had a wonderful dinner, as usual. Then we decided we better pack up our stuff so we returned to our cabin and found a letter telling us how the debarkation was to go. As the letter instructed we watched the debarkation show on our TV and we were told we would only be "allowed" to leave the ship when they called our assigned number and not before. So my husband went to the information counter and explained that we had to park our rental car at the one nearby lot and we had to pick up our car before 8:30 a.m. or they would charge us $50 instead of it being free. He was told we could not leave the ship when we wanted. We could not even carry our own luggage ourselves. We were being held hostage!! Well, there was another option! We could leave the ship before 4:00a.m. carrying our own luggage !! So that's what we did with a few other people who also had rental cars !! Not a good end to a wonderful cruise. So my opinion of Carnival Cruise Lines is they are good at the cruise part but their embarkation and debarkation is horrilbe!!!!! Read Less
Carnival Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.4
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 3.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.2

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