Sail Date: March 2012
This was mine and my husbands 5th cruise, 4th with carnival. We have only been to Mexico due to us living in Utah, it is more fees-able. This was our second balcony room, though this one was a surprise for my husbands birthday. It was hard ... Read More
This was mine and my husbands 5th cruise, 4th with carnival. We have only been to Mexico due to us living in Utah, it is more fees-able. This was our second balcony room, though this one was a surprise for my husbands birthday. It was hard to keep it a surprise though since he tries to be involved. I had been planning this vacation since about September of 2011 with two days prior in San Diego. We were road tripping from Utah to San Diego, about a 800 mile trip. We stopped about half way in Vegas. We have been to Vegas many times and have stayed in just about every hotel on the strip. This time was strictly business however since we were on a mission to sunny California! So i decided to book an off the strip hotel, South Point. It was FABULOUS! My first taste of steak n shake, umm hello deliciouness. We arrived the following day into San Diego and had a 2 night reservation at the Best Western Island Palms. OK just a preface: i am a research fanatic. I devote a TON of time into researching everything that goes into a cruise including pre and post. Let me just say that the Best Western Island palms exceeded our expectation 10 fold and definitely held up to their great reputation on Trip Adviser. We reserved the snooze and cruise package since we needed parking. This is one of the only hotel that will allow you to park more than 7 nights with no additional charges. I had the Marina King view in rm 530. LOVED IT!!!! We did the typical touristy things in san diego including sea world. Before we knew it it was 3/2..... EMBARKATION: I only have long beach cruise terminal to compare to but I cannot imagine another cruise terminal being more dis organized and hectic. Everything was rush, rush, rush. People yelling at you to go one way while other tell you the opposite. VERY chaotic however fast enough that it was to big of a bother. We arrived at 10am and were on the ship by 11:30am. SHIP: I have read numerous reviews on the spirit class ships and all have the same common opinion of the layout, wonderful. Well I will probably be one of the first reviews to say that I did not care for the layout one bit. It is so choppy. the lido is in two sections, the corridors in the cabins are chopped up rather than long hallways ( like a maze), and the atrium is not in view from every floor like most ships but rather only from a couple decks above. Other than that though, the ship is the most GORGEOUS I have ever been on. So ornate and rich in decor. Serenity was also a great place when you could find a chair. We snagged a clam shell chair for sail away and it was perfect. STATEROOM: I had room 7241, a balcony on deck 7 directly by the elevators and stairs. Let me just lay to rest those rumors of extra noise or foot traffic. It was so conveniently located and so quiet. I am a very light sleeper also. This sailing was sold out too so i know it was lack of people either. I would book this same room again. PORTS OF CALL: Manzanillo we decided to take a taxi to Las Hadas resort. We used their facilities for free and just paid as we went. BEAUTIFUL!!! highly recommended. Puerto Vallarta we had the Las Caletas excursion booked through the ship. It was just mediocre honestly. they said open bar on the boat ride to and from and while at las caletas. what they fail to mention is HOW OFTEN a server will fulfill your drink order or come by period. The sand there is very rocky and not the easiest to walk on. also if you have any mobility issues this is not for you. It is a little bit of a hike to get to the beach from the boat but what i never read in a review was the hike if you had to use the restroom. no fun. Plus the "mexican buffet" was not very mexican, very limited options for a picky eater. Cabo was GREAT!!!! We got off the ship and went straight off the dock and bought an excursion. We went snorkeling and whale watching for 4 hours, a REAL open bar on the boat, GREAT service, for 35pp on the Oceanus. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. After 2 days in Cabo we had a stop in Ensenada but we just did some shopping. As far as activities on sea days go we often found ourselves with nothing to do. For us though that was ok because we spent that open time simply relaxing. I didn't feel rushed or like I had 5000 things I wanted to do. The service on the ship was ok, not above and beyond any other cruise. Stu, the cruise director got on my last nerve. He just has an arrogance about him that I couldn't get around. Also most of the lounge singers were pretty bad. and the revues were mediocre. FOOD: I am a picky eater and most of the food even in the buffet has a gourmet flare to it. I never went hungry though so they were doing something right! We had anytime dining which was great but you just don't get the same attention or personalization. The best food we have every eaten was had in the Nouveau steakhouse. So worth the money! All in all after 9 nights we got used to the layout and the ship itself and had THE BEST CRUISE YET. There are positives and negatives to all in life but the pros heavily out weighed the cons. This was such a memorable cruise and i would recommend the Carnival spirit to all. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We have been on the Spirit before. It has always been mediocre, but traveled where and when our lives permitted. The ship just returned from a two week drydock and it showed. The gym has been totally reconfigured and outfitted with state ... Read More
We have been on the Spirit before. It has always been mediocre, but traveled where and when our lives permitted. The ship just returned from a two week drydock and it showed. The gym has been totally reconfigured and outfitted with state of the art Life Fitness equipment. There is a new 21 and over pool and sun area that is just wonderful. Quiet (means no kids) and pretty at the back of the ship. These new improvements are wonderful and great additions to the ship. The rest of the ship is the same old mediocre Carnival product. The food is a disgrace. Folks in prison eat better quality and variety than Carnival offers. They don't even have enough good ingredients to make a good salad. Having been on other lines this is is normally a simple task, not on Carnival. Healthy choices are just plain bad. IF all you are looking for is fried food, burgers, chicken fingers and pizza you will be in heaven. There is a reason many guests exceed 300 pounds and keep cruising. If good healthy food is your goal, forget it on Carnival. The shows were ok, but nothing special. The Cruise Director "Stu" is from Australia and screams on the intercom all the time. The problem is that you can't understand most of what he says due to this thick accent. As a result, we just "tuned out" Stu. Carnival staff is totally indifferent to guests and guest requests. Carnival now assesses tips to guests. The employees essentially get the same tips whether they kill themselves or perform the bare minimum to keep their jobs. The bare minimum is the best effort you ever get. Any special request is usually followed by rolled eyes and a 50-50 chance it will actually happen. Kind of like socialized tipping. Everyone gets the same regardless of the output or effort. Because Carnival wants to sell drinks and each on commands a 15% automatic tip, drink service is amazing! Carnival is cheap and mediocre. Nothing bad, but certainly nothing above average at any level. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My husband and I took this cruise to avoid the holiday same ol same ol. We left the 23rd of December and returned January 1st. It worked! All in all we had a very good time. We were lucky to meet some new friends that I believe we will ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise to avoid the holiday same ol same ol. We left the 23rd of December and returned January 1st. It worked! All in all we had a very good time. We were lucky to meet some new friends that I believe we will have for years to come. In fact we have all booked another adventure together on Holland America. Having said all this let me move on to the problems Carnival is having with their ship the Spirt. Leaving San Pedro went very well, coming back into San Pedro again no problems. Luggage was handled (6 pieces) without issue coming and going. Loved our balcony room. Took advise from another review and brought a small nylon rope to hold the door open so we could hear the ocean all night. Our #1 problem was food. Where to start.....If you enjoy your coffee as we do you will be spending lots of ship $$ at the coffee stands. The coffee they serve is vile and cold. We even tried ordering it in room still cold and horrible. First morning we stood in one of the omelet lines to watch them pour eggs from previously frozen then, defrosted milk like containers . I tried to tell the man that was making the omelet that I did not want the outside crispy but to no avail. Each and every omelet was served crispy and over cooked. Day 2 I grabbed oatmeal I mean how can that be wrong. If was 7:30 and the oatmeal was room temp. My husbands sausage and potatoes were the same. This is something that went on 9 days. Food on the buffet is not held at a proper temperature. The only hope of hot food from the buffet was the Asian food line where they cook in a wok right in front of you. Which from the length of the line each day at lunch was the conclusion many of the other guests felt too. I asked one of the buffet servers why the steam tables they were serving from were not hot he just looked at me and shrugged. I ate the very stale ½ a bagel the rest of the trip for breakfast it was the least of the evils. We looked forward to leaving ship to get a meal! We did open seating for dinner and loved it. You have the opportunity to meet so many interesting and fun people. Food here was better. 50/50 chance of it being eatable. We found food here to be better than a Denny's and not as good as chilies. Trying to give a comparison I don't eat at either but gives you an idea. I asked others at our table if this food was served in a restaurant in your town would you go back. The answer was usually no. We did not purchase any tours with Carnival since reading others on here pointed out you pay 50% more than waiting till you get to port and buy them on the dock. By the way there is a great little hole in the wall cafe in Puerta Vallarta called Joe & Jacks it is yummy! It is located in the old part of the city over the bridge. My only negative was the last port in Manzanillo. What were you thinking Carnival? This is a toilet! The town is dirty and the whole place smells of urine. We ran back to the ship. I had read on here other people saying this was a must miss, but I thought they were being cranky no, they were being nice! I had no problem with smoke. I know many people have posted that they did. I went to all the public rooms, clubs and Bars and never had any problem. We are both non smokers. Our room never smelled like smoke so I was really happy about that. We saw a couple of the comedy shows for adults they were good. I thought Carnival handled the Xmas very well. It was not in your face. They decorated with a winter land kind of theme so that all people could enjoy the season. I would have liked them to change the music tapes after December 25th . We had another week or so of Xmas theme music playing in the background. The employees seemed mega stressed. They work very hard. With the exception of the buffet all were very kind and curtous. The buffet area you can get run over, pushed , shoved etc. Its a war zone of guest verses employees. This area has a huge problem with language verses communication . All in all again we had fun. I don't know if I would choose carnival again. The up side is I came home with a only 2 lb weight gain for 9 days! Yippie Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We started our 12 days in Vancouver and it took forever to board the ship. I now how cattle must feel being hearded into a pasture. They had computer problems but didnt tell anyone what was going on until we had been sitting for over an ... Read More
We started our 12 days in Vancouver and it took forever to board the ship. I now how cattle must feel being hearded into a pasture. They had computer problems but didnt tell anyone what was going on until we had been sitting for over an hour and half. Finally three hours later we boarded and got settled. Our room was nice but it looks tired and dated. The balcony we had was amazing. It was super long and it was extended as well. Cabin # 7258. You could have fit a party of 10 on it easily! We dined alot at the formal dining room. It was good food and always great service. The buffet is okay we mostly had breakfast there. The sushi bar was great had that a few times. The shows are good but when we sailed NCL five years ago it was way better. We had good weather in Mexico but was disappointed that we lost a day in Cabo. Carnival said it was because of Hurricane Hilary but we easily could have had one more day there. Disney arrived in Cabo same time we did and they had two days there and arrived just after us in San Pedro?? I would like to know why they were so lucky? I feel like Carnival ripped us off in a sense!! We enjoyed Puerto Vallarta. We did a Tequila tasting tour and would say it was the highlight of our trip. The tour guide Pedro was hilarious and made the trip alot of fun. Ariba Mass Tequila!! Disembarking went okay. When we got off to find our shuttle we were easily directed to our bus. Over all the cruise was nice but they didnt Wow us. Will try something different next time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We were refugees from one of the canceled Splendor cruises and were happy to rebook on the Spirit 9 day!! This was our 2nd time on the Spirit and since we live in San Diego this embarkation port is especially nice for us!We DID start out ... Read More
We were refugees from one of the canceled Splendor cruises and were happy to rebook on the Spirit 9 day!! This was our 2nd time on the Spirit and since we live in San Diego this embarkation port is especially nice for us!We DID start out late because of the Tsunami but because we carryon our own luggage it was still easy to get onto the ship. We got to the port at about 12:30PM and were in group #7 to board. They didn't start boarding until about 1:45. So by the time we got to our cabin it was all ready for us!Our cabin steward was there to introduce herself and we found her very friendly and helpful throughout our trip!It is interesting to me how different folks rate things differently.WE think the decor of the Spirit is quite nice! We like looking at the glass sculptures on each deck and we really like the layout.We enjoy the walking track on deck 10and the easy way to avoid the smoke in the casino by crossing the ship on Deck3 and using the winding staircase down from the library to get back to Deck2. We also spend a lot of time in the adult only section at the aft pool/bar.We like the layout of the areas in the food court but on this voyage we thought the selections in the buffet were less interesting than the last time.We really enjoyed the food in the Main Dining Room and even ate breakfast there a few times. We had Your Time Dining and usually got there early. By the 3rd night we found a wait staff group we liked and so continued to use them for the rest of the trip. We had fine service throughout!I think that besides the change in itinerary our main disappointment was with the entertainment. There were several nights that had NO entertainment! I don't count listening to fellow travelers sing, as entertainment!! The Comedy Club was only open on the first 2 nights and the last 2 nights. One of the comedians told folks not to bother coming to other shows the 2nd night because his act would be the same!!! I have never heard of a comic that had only 1 set to perform!!The weather was absolutely fantastic with temps in the 80s and water temps in the 70s!! We especially liked our time in La Paz on the Sea of Cortez! The town was charming and my excursion to kayak at Bandera Beach was delightful!!The only bad weather was the day we returned to San Diego when we managed to get in before a big storm!We are very sad that the Spirit will be leaving San Diego to go to Australia!!We will miss her very much!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
My wife and I are 49/52 and this was our 6th cruise, 2nd on Canival, and 1st to Mexican Riviera.We flew in and nearly missed the ship d/t bad weather in San Diego.Very quick shuttle to port. $5 pp,and we were quickly on board.So here ... Read More
My wife and I are 49/52 and this was our 6th cruise, 2nd on Canival, and 1st to Mexican Riviera.We flew in and nearly missed the ship d/t bad weather in San Diego.Very quick shuttle to port. $5 pp,and we were quickly on board.So here goes. EMBARKATION:very quick d/t late arrival.Ship left late d/t many late flts into airport.We were on the ship in about 15 min w/ no hassles. SHIP:easy to get around on.Only 1 main dining room.Generally well kept and maintained.Nice decor we thought.Spent alot of our time on fantail. CREW:very helpful,always smiling,waiters,cabin stewards were exceptional. CABIN:what we expected except for firm mattress and no thick luxurious comforters,pillows,mattress top like we had on the Valor.Bathroom plenty big enough for 2 and plenty of storage space.Only 1 110 v outlet. PUBLIC AREAS:nicely furnished and nice decor.No non-smoking sports bar to watch games.Would be nice to offer non-smoking area of casino as well. FOOD:very good w/ very good variety in main dining room.We did any-time dining and so had a window seat for 2 EVERY night.Buffet area had very good buffet style meals w/ very good variety as well.Ate at steakhouse 1 night and this was exceptional and well worth the extra fee.Sushi bar area is very tiny but had good sushi.Simply put: very good food we thought. ENTERTAINMENT:very good comedians.Theater shows some of the best we have seen.The 2 man live band at pool side we thought were good as well. DISEMBARKATION:sloooow and boring.There HAS to be a better way.2 1/2 hrs sitting around before we were off the ship.Another cheap quick shuttle to the airport though and we were headed home. COMPLAINTS:the ship did not stay in port in Cabo.We were forced to tender back by 5:30 so ship could open casino out to sea.Had we known, we would have booked room in town so we could have enjoyed/sampled the night life and not had to tender in the next morning again.My wife had cold showers 3 mornings in a row.Each day the plumber stated there was a problem and it was finally repaired on the 3rd day.But then the service desk called and informed my wife there had been no problem and it was her fault for not knowing how to use the faucet.Go figure?? SUMMARY:we are simple and easy to please people.We were both pleasantly surprised at how good a time we had that we plan to do same itinerary/ship again and this w/ my wife not caring for Carnival much. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Sailed aboard the Carnival Spirit, departed San Diego on Sunday, 28 November, 2010. We had Cabin 5133, standard balcony on the upper deck. This was our second cruise, the first being on the Elation in July of 2008. Arrived at the ... Read More
Sailed aboard the Carnival Spirit, departed San Diego on Sunday, 28 November, 2010. We had Cabin 5133, standard balcony on the upper deck. This was our second cruise, the first being on the Elation in July of 2008. Arrived at the terminal at 1300 (1 PM), joined the cattle call into the "loading chutes" and waited. Each "chute" has parallel rows of bench seats facing each other, and there are 6 or 7 chutes in total. They would "unload" one chute at a time, in sequential order, into the queue for customs/security. All things considered, our total wait time until we were walking up the brow (gangway) and boarding the ship was about an hour! Pretty efficient. Once aboard, headed to the elevators and to our deck and cabin. I had already printed out the plans to the ship and so knew where to go. Our cabin was ready and waiting for us! Enjoyed the view from the balcony of San Diego and the action on the terminal below. The ship was supposed to get underway at 1700 (5 PM), but it was 90 minutes late. Found out later that this seems to be a frequent issue with the Spirit, for some reason or other. So, I missed getting some sunset pictures of the city as we sailed out of the bay. :-( About our cabin: I use a CPAP machine, which came with a rather short power cord (36 inches). Fortunately I had the foresight to bring along an extension cord, as the AC power outlet was on the opposite side of the room, away from the head of our bed. This could have made for a bad situation, as I don't know if I would have been unable to obtain a loaner from the room steward. Second item: I am a former smoker, and am extremely sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke in my proximity. Unfortunately, the folks in the cabin forward of us were smokers, and every time they lit up on their balcony, I was "smoked" off of mine. NOTE TO CARNIVAL: As I realize that non-smoking cruise ships are money losers, how about limiting the smokers to specific cabins and/or decks, so that those "downwind" from their cabins can enjoy the fresh sea air on their balcony's, instead of stepping out and smelling "a Camel!" :-) NOTE TO CARNIVAL: We could not hear the announcements from the cruise director or the Captain, in our cabin, without having to run to the door and hold it partway open, sometimes for some rather lengthy announcements. How about adding a speaker in the cabin, equipped with a volume/mute control? Another cabin note, had to ask to have the mini-bar unlocked. Also the beds did not seem as comfortable as those on the Elation. All other observations about the cabin are positive. Plenty of drawer and hanger space. The two at-sea days on the way to Acapulco were enjoyable. Had dinner the second night in the Nouveau Steak House. Paid $30 per person extra, but the steak was melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Worth a try. The view would be spectacular - if it weren't dark outside! Couldn't see a blessed thing. Pity they aren't open for lunch! :-) Maybe we should have booked for a night when we were in port??? The rest of the meals were consumed in the formal dining room (Empire room), or in the La Playa Grill. I grabbed burgers and hot dogs/fries a couple of times from the grill by the pool. NOTE TO CARNIVAL: Several times the wife and I got our food and went to find a place to sit (La Playa), only to discover that all of the tables were taken; however, many of the 6 and 8 person tables were being used by one or two people, thereby wasting the other seats. On one occasion we finally "invited" ourselves to join a couple sitting at a table for 6. On another occasion, we were so frustrated searching for a table that we ended up setting our trays down, food and all, and just leaving. We ended up going down to the Empire room and ordering lunch there. Perhaps the tables should be reconfigured to allow for more "couples" seating, thereby freeing up more seating room? At any rate, we figure that next time there is 'no room at the inn' we will just load our trays for traveling, and take our meals back down to our cabin! Yes, there is always room service, too! :-) On the second night, I found that the forward observation decks and the jogging track were closed due to high winds. Give me a break! Both of these decks are closed-in behind 6 foot high Plexiglas wind screens! At worst someone might loose their hat! I enjoy going to the forward part of the ship at night, away from the ship lights, to watch the stars! ACAPULCO: Late arriving, rushed to get off the ship and then waited for about an hour on the pier for everyone else on our tour to show up! What a zoo! The traffic in the city is crazy! And I thought traffic in the Philippines was bad! Fortunately, we booked a tour through Carnival to the Tehuacalco Archeological zone, and so our only exposure to Acapulco was driving through it! Rode in a 15 passenger van - a tight fit. The wife and I were unable to sit next to each other due to the layout of the seating, and other passengers boarding first. Also heard from the folks in the very back of the van that they had no air conditioning! It was a long drive there - about 70 minutes. The last section was on a narrow, winding road that buses would be unable to traverse (thus the need for the vans). Very enjoyable tour, our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. Well worth the money. On the trip back, although we were within two blocks of the ship, we "had" to make the obligatory stop at the sponsored jewelry store, even though we were running late. Another couple on the tour had also booked the "Cliff divers at night" tour, and ended up missing their event. We heard later aboard the Spirit that Carnival has canceled further port visits to Acapulco, due to the increasing violence in the city. Not a city to wander around on your own! IXTAPA/ZIHUATANEJO: Took the city cultural tour. Air conditioned buses. Very pleasant, worth the money. MANZANILLO: Arrived about 0600 (6 AM). Kept waiting to hear that the gangway was open, but never did. Our tour was supposed to meet at 0815 on the pier, so finally about 0800, the wife and I made our way down to A deck and discovered that passengers were already leaving! If we had waited in our cabin for an announcement, we would have missed the tour! Took the tour into Colima, about a 90 minute bus ride in air conditioned comfort. Bus had a rest room aboard, which was nice. Excellent lunch at a restaurant in Colima. Visited the archeological ruins on the outskirts of the city. Long day, but again, a very nice tour and well worth the money! On a side note, on both our tour to Tehuacalco and our tour to Ixtapa, we noticed that there was a small pick-up truck loaded with five Federales, heavily armed with M-16 automatic rifles and side-arms. Rather, each day was a different truck. We were a little nervous at first, as they would appear at every stop we made, sometimes in the company of an ambulance. We asked our tour guide about them and were told that their presence was "just a coincidence" and not to worry. This worked for the first day, but when a new batch showed up on the second day, we knew something more was happening. They were stand-offish and never bothered us, and at one point later in the day, we began waving to them and they waved back. We finally figured out that they were "shadowing" us to keep us safe. This makes sense, as the tourist money coming in is very important to the local economies. A health note: We purchased metal water bottles aboard the ship, filled them with water (Spirit water :-)) and crushed ice, and took them with us on our tours. Did not want any troubles with Montezuma, and none occurred! The two at-sea days on our return to San Diego were pleasant. The first time I heard the cruise director on the loud speaker, I thought his voice sounded familiar. Later, we ran into the cruise director as we were re-boarding the ship from a tour. I asked him if he was the cruise director aboard the Elation in July of 2008, and he replied that he was. Stewart Dunn is his name - a very fun individual. I hope to run in to him again! Our room steward was named Heru, and he did an outstanding job for us. Really attentive. Loved the towel animals. The wife was hoping to keep them until the last night, when we could line them up and take a group photo! Alas, they were recycled each day! :-) NOTE TO CARNIVAL: You really need to get some pretzels or cocktail peanuts in the bars! They have salt, you know, and salt makes people thirsty. Thirsty people drink more, etc. etc.! Sure would be nice (and, they're cheap!) :-) Maybe I will just bring some myself next cruise! IN SUMMARY: We had a very enjoyable cruise. The ship is very clean and well maintained. I had to laugh when I read some reviews of the Spirit that noted that the ship was now 10 years old! They made it sound like the ship was a relic, ready for the breakers! On the contrary, the only damage we saw was done by some morons and cretins, who carved their names into the inside elevator doors in several places - hardly Carnivals fault! While larger than the Elation we sailed aboard previously, we found the size of the Spirit just right for us. Well planned layout, easy to get around. In fact, we decided to take advantage of the $200 ship-board credit offer and booked a 15 day voyage aboard her to Hawaii in April of 2012. We "upgraded" to an extended balcony on the 7th deck, in the middle of the ship. Really looking forward to the trip! So, THANK YOU, CARNIVAL for a very enjoyable 30th anniversary! :-) See you in 16 months! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Embarkation: We arrived at 11:00 AM and went through the embarkation process it took about 25 mins to get through the line and into the waiting area. We were presented with a number and began getting on the ship at 12:00 PM. It was a ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at 11:00 AM and went through the embarkation process it took about 25 mins to get through the line and into the waiting area. We were presented with a number and began getting on the ship at 12:00 PM. It was a smooth process and they had big screen TVs in the waiting areas showing the Super Bowl Pregame. On the ship they served a buffet lunch and our room was ready at about 1:30. Superbowl: On embarkation day we had the Super Bowl Party. There were great appetizer stations set up and the game was available all over the ship. Some people took sides but others just enjoyed the drink specials. It was a great atmosphere to watch the game. The nice thing is that we got to skip the mandatory safety meeting until the next morning so we didn't have to miss part of the game. After the game our luggage had already arrived and the sea out of San Diego became choppy. Food: People who complain about the food on cruises usually only show up for the first meal in the dinning room and then make other plans. The first day meal is always the worst it will be for the rest of the cruise. This dining service is fantastic the food is well prepared and tasty. The menu is broken into 3 categories (starters, main courses, and desserts). However, we had a 5 course meal every night (starter, salad, soup, entree, dessert) almost every night. You are not limited to just 3 items. The food was fantastic on this cruise. My advice is to eat in the dinning room whenever you can including lunch and breakfast. The buffet is okay, but the dinning room has better prepared food and it is easier to portion control. Sea Days: For people who are used to the calm relaxing motion of the Caribbean you might want to bring some sea sickness pills, bands, or patches. The Pacific Ocean has strong currents that can cause some rolling waves. Specifically near San Diego the waves are rollers and the ship moves to the point where everyone on the ship will notice. Neither my wife or I got sick but there were some times that we noticed others who did. One night out of Manzanillo we hit a storm that brought 45 mph + winds and the Lido Pool began to splash water out. On the way down to Acapulco the ship has to be close to max speed the duration of the trip. People with aft cabins will notice vibration from the propellers. Bring Binoculars because you will see many dolphins and whales (especially near Cabo) on this trip. I would suggest getting a balcony or hanging out at the aft pool during the afternoons. There is lots to see if you are looking for sea-life. Entertainment: The dancers on the Carnival Spirit are okay but it would be tough to tell how good they are since difficult moves are an issue because the ship is moving. The singers are talented, especially the ladies. Stu isn't the best cruise director but he isn't bad either. There are many fun activities during sea days and the comedians will have you rolling during the late night sets. I was not impressed by the piano bar singer however. The disco was interesting to say the least on nights we went. It seemed like the crew utilized this space more as a private singles bar then it was for the guests to enjoy themselves. The Mexican night show in Acapulco is not to be missed. Ports: Acapulco has cleaned up in recent years. It is a really nice town to be at during the evening. Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo is absolutely beautiful. We were there during Carnival and the town and the people were dressed up and enjoying themselves. Manzanillo isn't too fun unless you take and excursion. We went deep sea fishing. The only guy on our boat to catch a fish was from San Diego and could go deep sea fishing any day. He caught a close to 100 lb sailfish. Even though we didn't catch a fish we enjoyed the day along the cliffs and shoals there are lots of dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays and even a whale made an appearance. Debarkation: This is a breeze. Eat breakfast in the Dining room or Lido Buffet and wait for Stu to call your number. You will be off the ship and with you luggage in about 15 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Just as every other "first", our first cruise was magical. We just returned from our second cruise and the only thing missing was the magic of the first. Arriving in San Diego the day before was ideal. The only thing better ... Read More
Just as every other "first", our first cruise was magical. We just returned from our second cruise and the only thing missing was the magic of the first. Arriving in San Diego the day before was ideal. The only thing better could have been coming several days earlier and having more time to enjoy the city. We really liked what we saw in the short time we were there. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay just across the street from the terminal. The hotel kept our luggage after we checked out until we were ready to board the ship. Then they shuttled us right up to the terminal. The even shuttled us back to the airport on our return even though we did not stay over that night. What service! The Carnival Spirit was great. With our embarkation day also being Superbowl Sunday, the football game was shown on the movie screen in the Pharaoh's lounge (theater) with snacks resembling a tailgate party served along with helmets and buckets of beer. That was fun!! All the activities on the ship were well planned, although I am not sure there was as many music venues as on the other ship we had cruised on. There did not seem to be as many choices or as much going on in the evenings as on the other. But that did not tarnish our trip in any way. We enjoyed every minute. The Carnival Spirit crew members did a great job. Our cabin steward was very attentive (we had a balcony cabin which we loved) as were our waiters at dinner. The cruise director, Stu, was also a lot of fun. We struck up some very interesting conversations with other crew members. All were friendly and accommodating. The shows were entertaining and the talent impressive. Disembarkation is always a downer, but we used a program on the ship called "Luggage Express" and it helped some. You check your luggage the night before as usual, but you do not see it again until you arrive at your home airport. I was a little nervous about this, but it worked smoothly. It also allows you to disembark right after the early flight groups. With boarding passes issued from the ship, you skip that part of the airport process and go directly through security. Our flight left at 12:35 p.m., so this helped relieve some of the rush for us. I would recommend this cruise on Carnival Spirit to everyone. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not sure we would do it again, but I am glad we experienced it this time. We are definitely planning a longer visit to San Diego, California. We loved it there. We will be planning another cruise with Carnival as soon as possible. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Just got back from the Spirit 2/14 - 2/23 trip. Any specific questions, leave them here and I'll be glad to answer what ever I can. We were in cabin 6260, a wraparound AFT cabin on the port corner of the Empress deck. Our neighbors ... Read More
Just got back from the Spirit 2/14 - 2/23 trip. Any specific questions, leave them here and I'll be glad to answer what ever I can. We were in cabin 6260, a wraparound AFT cabin on the port corner of the Empress deck. Our neighbors must have been cruise critics, because both of them complained that we got that cabin before they did. One even commented that it was a shame we couldn't enjoy it because there were only two of us. Boy, was she wrong. We arrived at the port at 11:30AM. Because we had a suite, we got VIP embarkation which was great. We had no wait from the time the hotel shuttle droped us of until we were on the boat. We were among the first 20 people to board the ship. We both loved the Spirit and would go back in a heartbeat. Lines were never bad, except for tendering in Zihu.... We had Anytime Dinning, and usually got up to the dining room around 8:30-9:00PM. Never a wait for a table for two. Service always quick, although we tended to be among the few people left when the dining room closed. We got to watch the waiters count the silverware and set the tables for breakfast, but nobody ever rushed us. We had breakfast in the MDR most days, except when we had room service. My only criticism of breakfast was I never got my eggs benedict without hardened hollandaise sauce, blackened from sitting under the heat lamp. No big deal - I can live with it. Lunch was usually at the Lido buffet, which I thought was pretty good. I've been on quite a few cruises and the allure of eating like a glutton is worn off, so I'm picky. We loved the Turkey wraps from the deli station and the hamburgers from the grill. They had chocolate melting cake on the dessert section at the Lido dinner buffet, which I don't recall ever seeing before. The chocolate chip cookies on the lunch buffet were outstanding as well. The late afternoon Sundae bar was visited a few times. We ate on the beach in Zihu and Manzanillo, and had some pretty good local fish (I think it was local). Salsa and guacamole was good as well. Cabin 6260 was fantastic. My first suite and I don't think I'll ever be able to cruise in anything less. The best part was on the last two sea days, when it was windy and you couldn't sit at the pool without a sweatshirt. We were lying in the sun on our balcony, the ship blocking all the wind. We didn't attend to many of the shows - we watched the late night "R-rated" comedian one night, and a few minutes of the "Legends" show which I could swear was the exact same show we saw on the Triumph last February. The live band "Heat" was pretty good - they played lots of older rock which we like. We visited the Piano bar a few times and enjoyed the selection he played. We tried to attend the "Dancing under the Stars" but it was too cold and windy up there for us. I guess I'm getting old. There were hundreds of people enjoying themselves, though. We never got around to playing bingo, casino or any of the other activities they offer - it's just not our thing. I would have liked to do the ship's background tour, but thought it was too expensive for what you got. The shopping on the ship doesn't seem any different than any other Carnival ship I've ever been on. $10 watches, gold by the inch, Duty free liquor, Carnival T-shirts. We purchased a future cruise voucher for $100. It was supposed to be charged to my sail & sign card, but they never got around to it. I guess the charge will show up eventually, because the certificate showed up the next day. We went ot the art Auction for the free champagne, but they're getting cheap. Only one waitress and she never made it around to us. Since they didn't get me drunk, I didn't buy anything. :) We didn't attend the Captain's night, the Past Guest Party or the Farewell party, so we didn't get much in the way of free drinks on this trip. Oh well, that's not what we cruise for anyway. I was surprised at the condition of the ship. Large stains on the carpets by the AFT elevators on decks 5 & 6. We always knew which deck we were on by the shape of the stains. Since we walked past those spots ten times a day, they were very noticeable. There was a lot of rust on the railings on our balcony. I'm sure keeping steel white in the ocean's an ongoing job, and it didn't change my enjoyment of the cruise, but it's time for someone to grab a can of paint. Debarkation didn't begin until 9:30. They announcement kept saying they were waiting for customs to clear the ship. We left our cabin at 10AM and I think we were the last one's on our floor, but it gave us a good opportunity to look into the other cabins and see the difference in room layout. The worst part of the trip: We're on the plane, leaving San Diego. It's a little after 5:00 PM, and as the plane is lifting off, I look out the window and see the Carnival Spirit chugging out of San Diego harbor. And I'm heading back to work. What a downer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
We booked the Dec. 5th sailing of the Carnival Spirit to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We had sailed this exact same itinerary in 2005 and enjoyed it very much. Living in southern California, San Diego is a very convenient ... Read More
We booked the Dec. 5th sailing of the Carnival Spirit to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We had sailed this exact same itinerary in 2005 and enjoyed it very much. Living in southern California, San Diego is a very convenient departure port and we like that it is an 8-day cruise - it's always nice to have one more day on a cruise! Because this was a special celebration, we decided to splurge and booked one of the corner aft suites with the wrap-around balcony. We decided to stay at a hotel in Oceanside, California on Friday evening. It was not as long a drive for us, since we didn't leave until after work that day, and yet was close enough that the drive to the San Diego port the next day was a quick one. We pulled into the port around noon and unloaded our luggage and hubby stayed there to arrange a porter while I parked the car. There is a long-term parking lot directly across the street from the port, very convenient. There were plenty of spaces available; I parked and walked across the street and joined my husband. Going through security was normal. Once past security we found the check-in room for Carnival. Since we are Platinum, we went into the VIP check-in line (I believe that we'd have been in that line even if we weren't Platinum because we were booked in a suite), which was super short. I think it might have taken 5 minutes total, even with their computers down! We were on the ship as fast as we could walk! We like the Carnival Spirit. This was our third cruise on her (in 2008 we made the Vancouver/Hawaiian Islands cruise). The staterooms were not open, yet, so we made our way up to the Lido Deck for a bite to eat and then explored the ship again in order to re-familiarize ourselves with the layout. By that time we checked to see if the hallway that led to our stateroom was open yet, and it was. Woot! We would finally get to see our suite! We loved it. It had a separate living room and bedroom, each with its own TV. Hint for those planning to book one of these suites: if you have any VHS tapes you especially enjoy, the TV's have built-in tape players...but there is no library of tapes available on the ship. There was also a separate vanity area, and a large bathroom, with double sinks, and a Jacuzzi bathtub with shower doors. The bathroom may have been the biggest luxury - it was so wonderful not to have the little corner shower with the shower curtain that sticks to you! There was also a walk-in closet. In fact, there was so much storage space there were actually a few drawers and shelves that we never even used and, as usual, we over-packed! We really enjoyed our balcony, which was an extended width - room for two chaise lounge chairs, as well as two chairs and a small table. There were also floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the living room and bedroom, looking out toward the aft and side of the ship. We initially had booked late, assigned dining, and we loved our tablemates immediately! But we found that by the time we were finished with dinner, we had missed the first half hour of karaoke, which is one of our favorite evening activities on ship. We decided to try Carnival's "Your Choice Dining." We've always enjoyed assigned dining, and were unsure if we would like this, but it worked our perfectly for us. We were generally seated in the same area, so we often had the same wait team, and met many wonderful tablemates! We will probably choose this dining option again. The food was good. I thought it was a little bit better than on the same ship the year before. We did not get off the ship in Acapulco. Having sailed this itinerary before, we didn't care to disembark. I think this is the first time we have stayed on the ship while in port, and it was very nice! It is very quiet, and you feel as though you have the ship to yourselves! We enjoy both Zihuatanejo and Manzanillo. On this trip, we took a taxi to Ixtapa from Zihuatanejo. We went to one of the large hotels there, and were welcome to use their beach chairs and umbrella. There was a lifeguard station right there, but we did not go into the surf, as the black flag warning signs were out. There were a number of parasail vendors out (I don't know what else to call them). For $20, you could get a short flight. I used to say that I wanted to do this, but over the years had developed something of a fear of heights. But...I have reached an age where I feel that I should occasionally go beyond my comfort zone and just "go for it" before I die! Bucket list, and all that! And, it was only $20, so.....I did it. I'm very glad I did it, but I will never do it again! We had lunch at the hotel restaurant....not particularly good, overall, although their salsa was good! In Manzanillo, we shared a taxi with another couple from the ship and went to the long stretch of beach north of the port. This beach also had lifeguards, but the flags showed that it was safe, so we enjoyed swimming in the surf. The water is as warm as the Caribbean, but not as blue! We thought that the service and crew were something of a "mixed bag" this trip. We really enjoyed the karaoke host, Vinz Brown. We thought he was as funny as the comic that appeared at the Pharaoh's Lounge! We loved the assistant maitre 'd, Ekaterina, and the wait staff we encountered in the dining room. We thought that the cruise director, Stu was good when he was not dealing with passengers one-on-one. However, every time we encountered him or witnessed him in a one-on-one capacity we both got the impression that he was too busy to bother with the passengers, at best, and, in fact, was inappropriately harsh during debarkation. Granted, we realize that debarkation day is stressful and that he has to deal with passengers acting inappropriately, but we both felt that he could have acted in a more professional manner than we witnessed. He was at his best either on stage or making announcements over the PA system - and at that he was absolutely marvelous. Debarkation is always somewhat chaotic. As Platinum cruisers, we met in the Club Cool lounge and were to be escorted to the debarkation point. It didn't quite work as planned, but, still, it did not take an inordinate amount of time to disembark. Once we gathered our luggage, I left to get the car and my husband arranged a porter to assist him getting the luggage to the pick-up point. I paid the parking fee (note: they did not take American Express, so have either cash or MasterCard or Visa with you), and zipped around the block and into the port area. We loaded the luggage and we were headed home. All in all, it was a very nice cruise, and we are still fans of the Carnival experience! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We took the Carnival Spirit the day after Thanksgiving to avoid so many children. Time boarding at the port was fast and well handled. We were on board in less than 30 min. Cabins were not ready so if you have carry on you must take it ... Read More
We took the Carnival Spirit the day after Thanksgiving to avoid so many children. Time boarding at the port was fast and well handled. We were on board in less than 30 min. Cabins were not ready so if you have carry on you must take it with you and that makes the Lido deck crowded. We had an aft balcony for the first time and will not do this one again. Soot from the smokestacks is all over the chairs and if you aren't careful your clothes are covered too. Our wonderful cabin Steward Clemente put new robes out for us every day. These cabins are also a little hard to find too. We will not be on top cabin deck again as there is lots of noise from the Lido deck day and all night and it starts early in the AM. Our cabin steward and his assistant were the best we have had so far. If we needed it we had it. Room service was fast and done well. They had a laundry special and it is worth using if you are not going straight home. Food was very good on all dining options. We ate in the steakhouse one night and it is worth every bit of the extra money!!! Food and service were fantastic. Our dining room staff Svetlana and Anita were wonderful but at times has too many guests to give personal service. The ports are not ones we will visit again. Alcapolco port is far from most stuff so book a tour or pay for a taxi. City is very dirty. Zihuantanejo was a fun place to go.. Plenty of stuff to do close to pier and no fear walking around the area. Manzanillavery disappointing, You dock in a shipping port so to get anywhere to shop or sightsee is quite a walk and the shopping specialist does not even have a map of the area and they do not recommend wandering on your owm. Casino needs better supervision as children apx 6-7 yrs were playing the slots with their parents. Hot tubs had many unsupervised children even adult only. Capitan even announced one day that children were not to be unsupervised on Lido deck at any time.Over all we had a good time and the ship was SMOOTH. No rocking at all. We would do this ship again as we were treated well and made to feel very welcome. 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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