2 Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews for Spring Break Cruises to Mexican Riviera

We had a good time on this cruise - not a spectacular time, but a good and relaxing time. We were aboard the Spirit for this same cruise last September and had a wonderful time. After learning the Spirit is moving to Australia later ... Read More
We had a good time on this cruise - not a spectacular time, but a good and relaxing time. We were aboard the Spirit for this same cruise last September and had a wonderful time. After learning the Spirit is moving to Australia later this year, we decided to repeat the cruise. We purchased future cruise certificates while on board and received a great rate from our PVP so we booked this cruise immediately after returning home. This was our tenth Carnival cruise. We flew in from Kansas City on the 15th. We originally had reservations at the Holiday Inn directly across from the cruise terminal but our sons came down from Los Angeles for dinner and there were no more rooms available so we changed to the Residence Inn which is also very close to the cruise terminal. The hotel shuttle picked us up at the airport and provided transportation to the ship on the 16th. The Residence Inn is a good hotel. We had dinner on the 15th at Il Fornaio on Coronado Island - it was very good. Since our sons were with us, we were in no hurry to board on the 16th, so we had lunch at Anthony's. The service was very good and the food was okay - maybe a little expensive for the amount of fried seafood we received, but hey, it's San Diego and on the water - nice view. Embarkation - We last cruised from San Diego in 2008 and were expecting to embark at the new cruise terminal but embarkation occurred at the old terminal. We heard several stories about the new terminal - it was too small, they ran out of money, so we don't know. A HAL ship was also embarking so it was a bit confusing. There was a Carnival VIP line but then it merged with the normal Carnival & HAL lines to get through security. Once through security, things moved very quickly until we arrived at the line for the welcome aboard photograph and then the line to activate your sign & sail card which was taking place on the dockside rather than on the ship. All in all, it took about an hour and fifteen minutes to board after arriving around one o'clock. As first-time platinum cruisers we were handed VIP express signs which were basically useless - we just stood in line. Perhaps had we arrived earlier - say at 11am or so, platinum status would have been helpful. Our PVP had pre-arranged for a wheel chair for my wife but she didn't need it. I am not sure if the VIP luggage tags made a difference, but when we arrived at our cabin two of our bags were already there and the third arrived shortly. A room steward passing by told us that "somebody likes you." The ship looked great, we thought. We were in the same cabin (5124) we had been in during September and it was very clean. It was an extended balcony which is what we normally travel in on Spirit class ships. During the last evening when the Carnival legends show began we could faintly hear the music from the Pharaoh theater. We thought the crew did a great job of keeping the ship clean throughout the cruise. The muster drill went by smoothly and quickly and we were on our way pretty much on time. We had dinner the first night in the Steakhouse and it was very good. We even thought the service had improved over the excellent service we received during September. We had crab cake, lobster bisque, lobster ravioli, and cheesecake. They still provide a complimentary bottle of wine with dinner during the first evening. When we made our reservations on line, we requested a specific table and Dora honored that request. We also bought a wine package of 8 bottles for $208 which included the 15% gratuity. Carnival has changed their wine selection - many of the lower priced bottles have screw-off tops rather than corks. Some of the selections are okay and some just so-so. The weather during the first two sea days was overcast and windy so we spent most of our time on the balcony relaxing, reading, and sleeping. Once we arrived at Manzanillo the weather was fantastic. My wife had knee replacement surgery during January so we weren't very active - only briefly leaving the ship in Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo - we did enjoy our time on the sun deck. Throughout the cruise, there was never any difficulty finding deck chairs. At Ensenada, we took the scenic coast or golden coast tour which consisted of a 45 mile or so drive up the Baja coast. It was inexpensive and a good tour to just see the countryside. There was a nice one hour stop at a seaside restaurant. We found the San Adreas fault area interesting. We thought that for the most part, the food was pretty good. There were a couple of occasions the food seemed cold. We dined during the 8:15 seating and it seemed as though it was left over from the early seating - I don't know. Our black bean enchiladas seemed "dried out" as if they had been under a warming light. The last night, I ordered prime rib and my wife ordered the mac n' cheese. Niether of the entrees was very good. The prime rib almost tasted as though it had been canned meat. However, all the starters were very good. Our wait staff team was very attentive. Overall, however, we were pleased with the food. Our breakfast and lunch meals in the Lido and main dining room were good. The more I cruise, the easier I am to please when it comes to food - I ate a hot dog for lunch twice and a turkey wrap sandwich twice as well. The lido buffet did become quite hectic on the last sea day before Ensenada and then for lunch at Ensenada as people were returning to the ship. Our table was a booth for four. We were surprised how many vacant tables there were during the late seating - I saw at least six tables for two that seemed to be vacant during the entire cruise. I would imagine anyone requesting a table for two during late seating should be able to have one. We were surprised at the demographics during this cruise. We thought of this cruise as a "spring break" cruise but there weren't that many young people aboard - maybe because it was 9 days. The ship generally didn't feel crowded. We tipped both our wait staff and cabin steward's team in addition to the auto-tips. We thought the entertainment was pretty good. There was a very good two person reggae/steel-drum type combo playing on the lido deck that we really enjoyed. One night the regularly scheduled show was cancelled due to electrical problems and another show substituted. Debarkation was a breeze. Platinum cruisers met in the Sports Bar at 8:30am and we were off the ship and through customs in 15 minutes. I was surprised they didn't ask for any ID. Once again, this was a good cruise and a good vacation at a fantastic price. There were a few glitches but nothing to spoil a cruise. Our next cruise is on the Carnival Miracle repositioning cruise from New York through the Panama Canal next March. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My family (husband and I plus our two boys 7 and 11) went on this cruise with our in laws and another family (husband wife and 7 year old son) on April 6th. It was spring break for the kids and for my mother in law, who is a teacher. ... Read More
My family (husband and I plus our two boys 7 and 11) went on this cruise with our in laws and another family (husband wife and 7 year old son) on April 6th. It was spring break for the kids and for my mother in law, who is a teacher. Husband and I are Carnival veterans, this was our 8th cruise. However, this was our first time leaving from San Diego. Embarkation: We drove down to San Diego and left our cars in a park in ride. A shuttle at the park and ride provided a free shuttle to the cruise terminal. After a short ride to the terminal, I noticed a huge amount of people at the terminal all scattered about. I though, "how unorganized! This is going to take hours!". I was wrong! Despite all the people and a computer problem (they could not process our paperwork or activate our expense accounts) we on the ship in 30 minutes. Food: In the 10 years we have been cruising with Carnival, they have not changed their menu, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! I look forward to their wonderful cold soups (gaspatcho, mango crea, strawberry) every cruise, as well as lobster and bread pudding. The dining room service has always been spectacular, but this time it was just horrible! The dinner service was the low point of the cruise. Our waitress was really bad. She wasn't rude or unpleasant,just really inept! We were getting out appetizers while other diners were getting their desserts! She would bring items out and leave on the tray for up to 15 minutes before she served them. Dinner service the first night took 2 hours. We complained to the head waiter, but the poor service continued all week. The Supper Club service was great and the food was good. The bartender was a chatty Slovenian girl who was very heavy handed with with the vodka in her martini's! You definitely got what you paid for! Lido dining had a large variety of items, but the lines were long. Long lines, however, are to be expected when you travel during spring break. Cabo: There were 5 ships in port, which is a lot for a small town like Cabo. The tenders took forever! We had booked a shore tour through another agency and had to cancel because they were running late. Shopped for about an hour, then got an early tender back on the ship. No big, I've been to Cabo 4 times before, so I wasn't missing out. Mazatlan: Did the Stone Island tour. Great beach, but the vendors can get quite annoying. You buy one thing, then the others's swarm you. Not much can be done since all of Mexico's beaches are public. La Paz: Hired a taxi and spent the day at a local beach. The water is crystal clear, but very cold! Downtown was quaint, not much was open. On board activities: Bingo, at $20, was a rip off. I enjoyed the trivia games won some medals and a "plastic ship on a stick". My 11 year old loved karaoke. He really didn't participate much in the kids club due to the fact that he was at the tail end (he was 2 months from turning 12) of the 9 to 11 kids club. My 7 year old and his friend had dinner everynight with the kids club. The past guest and captains party were wonderful. Waiters walked around with cocktails and appetizers. The shops were overpriced, but I did get a good deal on Absolut vodka, 2 bottles for $18! I avoided the art auction like the plague since I spent $395 on a painting on my last cruise and never even hung it up! We didn't check out the shows. We all find them to be very cheesy and can't stand the over the top, exaggerated singing! They are produced well, but not really our cup of tea! Debarkation: Our steward was kind enough to let us stay in cabin until they called our group. Getting off the ship was a snap and before we knew it we were on our shuttle to the parking garage. We hopped in the car and head home planning our next cruise the entire 2 hours that it took to get home! Final thoughts: I am a believer that the most important thing to take with you on vacation is an open mind. Keep in mind that you are on a Carnival ship, the most affordable cruise line out there. Keep that in mind anytime you question the clientele or the food quality. You are also an adult and are perfectly capable of locating your own room. You aren't royalty or a super celeb, so don't expect champagne to be handed to you. Again, if you desire services such as room escorts and champagne service, then book a Crystal cruise. If you feel like you don't fit in, book at Holland America. Kids bother you? Don't go on a cruise during spring break, if you don't have a choice, book a cruise that is geared towards an older crowd or couples. Treat the staff like you would want to be treated. If you are condescending or belittling, expect to be treated just as bad. I go on Carnival knowing I am NOT going to get white glove treatment. I know I am going to encounter some "trashy" people and mediocre food. Why do I go? Because Carnival fits my family and friends' budgets to a tee. I know what to expect, I get what I pay for and sometimes evenmore! By the way, we will be going on our 9th Carnival Cruise on Aug 25th! Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
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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