15 Ensenada Family Cruise Reviews

Here's a quick rundown of our latest cruise over the weekend on the Inspiration: The Inspiration itself is considered an older ship, about 20 years old I believe, but they have modernized it. Food wise The pool buffet lines ... Read More
Here's a quick rundown of our latest cruise over the weekend on the Inspiration: The Inspiration itself is considered an older ship, about 20 years old I believe, but they have modernized it. Food wise The pool buffet lines have been turned into a Guy Fieri Burger Bar and a Mexican Food joint. I tried both and they were pretty good. The burgers were more home made type patties but all the different choices of toppings made up for it. Had a trio of tacos and the meats were surprisingly delicious. Never ate in the main buffet room except to grab a late night pizza since it was the only thing open. In terms of the main dining hall for dinner I'd give the place an 8 out of 10. Not the best cruise ship food I tried but none the less pretty good. Flat Iron Steak and Prime Rib were both good on consecutive nights and the sides were as well. Don't bother spending the extra $20 bucks for a better steak as the normal choices were just as good. Drinks We pre-paid for the Cheers Program which cost about $50 bucks a day and got us 15 drinks each per day, definitely a deal when you have nothing else to do on the ship other than relax, drink and have a good time. From what I saw, most liquor was top shelf, Goose or Patron were used the majority of the time for my requests. Unfortunately you can't share the Cheers programs with others, if there's another adult in the room with you then you both have to by the program but still definitely worth it in the long run. The two pools side bars are where we were the majority of the time but they do have a great bar in the back of the ship called the Alchemy where you can get some great cocktails if you getting tired of the tropical stuff up on the deck. Ensenada It is what it is, a port city in Mexico. Most people come to go to the main shopping district, grab a few deals then stop at Hussong's or Pappas and Beer and knock back a few. I did the Blow Hole trip once, not a big deal, something to say you went to once but don't need to see again. Some people don't mind getting hit up all the time by street vendors but for others it's a turn off. If you stay on the ship you're not missing too much. To get into town we paid about $2 bucks per person and then another $1 to get back on the ship. Entertainment Saw one Studio 54 type show one night which wasn't bad in the main theatre. The comedy club had a great comedian at one of the late night adult shows. Other than that it's a lot of bingo games and a family Hasbro show but since it's only a 3 night cruise you don't get a lot of options. In terms of tech, we all purchased the $5 a day WIFI plan for social networking and it worked out well, good coverage and speed throughout the ship. Service Dining room and room service employees were all great. Call you by name and try to give you a personable experience. In terms of our room, the only complaint we had was that the shower drain at times would overflow and go into the sink area of the bathroom but other than that it's like Vegas, how long are you actually going to be in your room anyway on the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We need a place to hang out as our house is fumigated for 3 days and we decided to take a 5-day cruise. That was our 5th time to cruise (4 with Carnival, 1 with Royal Caribbean) I can say that this whole Carnival Inspiration cruise ... Read More
We need a place to hang out as our house is fumigated for 3 days and we decided to take a 5-day cruise. That was our 5th time to cruise (4 with Carnival, 1 with Royal Caribbean) I can say that this whole Carnival Inspiration cruise experience was the worse of all! The vessel is old with not much upgrades, shows are short, no live band, not so much activities for teen age kids. All they emphasized on board was to sell and sell, booze, jewelry, paintings,souvenirs, photos, etc., etc! Crews were okay except for the captain who cut my kid while in the pizza line. He was rude and arrogant just because he is in-charge. That would be our last for the Carnival as we are looking a much nicer cruise line in the future. Never, never again with Carnival especially the one that docks in Long Beach, CA. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about ... Read More
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about getting there late, and rushed us through our meal. They even start taking away our kids' utensils, so my son had to use a fork to eat ice cream! Towards the end of the meal, the waiter gave us another lecture about getting there on time the following night. My kids enjoyed the punchlines comedy shows which was the highlight of the day, and playing table tennis. There was only 2 table tennis tables, so we weren't able to play until at night when people were at the shows. There's also mini golf if you can find a golf ball. I suggest bringing your own golf balls. My kids also stayed at camp ocean for 2 hours playing dodge ball which they enjoyed and also met some friends from there. The Hasbro show is fun and exciting. The Motown and VIP shows were just okay. The songs they played were oldies. I don't understand why they don't play some recent songs like Taylor Swift or One Direction. The VIP show is geared toward the VIP members. These VIPs were pulled to dance in the stage with the crews and they are ell wearing huge VIP tags. The food is mediocre. The formal night they serve lobster and prime rib. The following morning (day at sea) we had filet mignon and egg fir brunch. The filet mignon was very tender and tasty, but the portion is do small they we all had to order seconds. The last night, they served escargot as the appetizer which was really good. The Mongolian Bbq was not good - the noodles were too dry and hard. The deli bar had good sandwiches. Every night, we went up to the lido deck at10pm to get the sandwiches bc they close at 11pm. At Ensenada, we got jipped off by a guy who offered us a $25 per 1/2 hour carriage ride. He told us he would take us to the beach and downtown, but 15 minutes into the ride, he said we had to pay another $15 for him to take us to the beach bc it would be an hour ride. We decided not to yield, so we only went 3 blocks down the street and then turned back to downtown. There are plenty of beggars, and my dtr felt bad for them until we figured we spend way too much money on donations. We bought 3 name on the rice necklaces and 3 friendship bracelets for $10, and 3 wooden turtles for $2. My daughter really enjoyed the little booths. I also had done street tacos for$1-1.50. They were greasy but delicious. The gym had a sign on it that said only for > 18y/o, so my kids can't go in. Someone suggested bringing magnets, but the door wasn't made of steel, so that didn't help. And yes, you can still ask for playing cards at guest services, but they don't have post cards. Lastly, you can get lanyards for you S&S card at the casino. The pictures on board Are expensive, but we were tempted into spending $65 on them. Parking at the dock is $19 per day. Overall, my kids really enjoyed the cruise. It was their first time, but they had a lot of fun. Because if this, I will overlook the bad customer service and take them back again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I have just discovered cruising and this is my second. My first was on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the seas. This cruise was noticeably lesser than the Royal Caribbean cruise in just about every area of comparison. From food, to ... Read More
I have just discovered cruising and this is my second. My first was on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the seas. This cruise was noticeably lesser than the Royal Caribbean cruise in just about every area of comparison. From food, to amenities to entertainment to the general service to even the attitude of the crew members. The food: The food was not great. Not in the buffet or the main dining room. The main dining room was a bit hit of miss. The waiters did do their best to provide a good experience but they could not combat the quality of the food. On the first night, we got a prime rib that was good. But every other night, the food was just sub par. As for the buffet, it was small. I was surprised that there were just a few selections in each category and not many categories. The buffet on the royal caribbean ship was probably twice if not three times the size of the Princess Cruise. We wanted to try the restaurants but given the length of the cruise we just didn't get a chance. Some in my party did say good things about the pizza place on the top floor but I never did try it. The ship: The ship seemed small. They only had a piazza verses a promenade. The Royal Caribbean ship had a promenade which was like a small mall in the middle of the ship with some restaurants and shops. The Crown Princess simply has a Piazza which seemed like a miniature version of the RC Promenade. The Piazza was laid out around a circular stair case over three levels, with shops all around the border. In comparison, while the RC promenade may have had an irish pub, the crown princess had a Irish Pub like area in a corner of the piazza but it was not its own entity. So you never really felt like you were in an irish pub. Service: Some as good and some was really bad. The waiters in the main dining room really did try their best. However the staff in the buffet seemed annoyed at times. Several seemed like they thought their job was beneath them. While they got you your second and third cup of coffee, they always seemed annoyed to do it. Value: We did get a good deal on the cabin but they really do try to nickel and dime you on little things like soda and water. I don't remember the RC cruise charging for soda but I could be wrong. They did offer a $7 a day soda package which my wife and I bought one. Which was totally worth it. I think the intent was to sell us two but we share drinks anyway so I am not sure they made out. As for the children: they had fun but this line does not offer nursery services. And they didn't have much for young children. Non of the pools allow children with diapers to use pools. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My family of 4 had on Oceanview room on the Empress deck. We loved the location of the room, close to everything. Our room steward Henrid was excellent. He was pleasant every day and went out of his way for our family. Room really small ... Read More
My family of 4 had on Oceanview room on the Empress deck. We loved the location of the room, close to everything. Our room steward Henrid was excellent. He was pleasant every day and went out of his way for our family. Room really small compared to cruises I have done before. Dinner- we had early seating. The food was just ok on some nights and good on other nights. We spent between 1.5-2 hours in the dining room. Too long for my taste, but we beared it. Our waitress seemed slow, unfriendly and she seemed to hate her job. In her defense, she seemed to have very little help. They changed the options having premium choices for an extra 20.00. I almost choice this because the choices I had that night were not good. The portions are also smaller from the cruise I took last time 6-2013. I often choice 2 entrees because I was afraid one would be horrible. Buffet- was not very good. Some items were good, such as sandwich bar, Mongolian BBQ and inside Lido had a few good choices. But, the outside selection of hamburgers, hot dogs... Etc. was not the best. The hot dog I had was the cheapest dog I tasted. I couldn't even eat it. I have cruised Carnival several times and this was the worst food I had so far. Late buffet closed at 9:30. I am used to midnight buffet, but they only had 1 late night Mexican buffet, with just ok food. Camp Carnival- kids 7,8 loved it. Son wanted to play videos games all day. Most staff was friendly and cheerful. Some seemed over worked and tired. Pool-good Water works area- fun for the whole family!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We sailed on a repositioning cruise on 'Millie' for our anniversary. It was a wonderful trip and one of the best cruises that we have taken. Overall, the ship was great. It seemed like every day got more and more incredible. We ... Read More
We sailed on a repositioning cruise on 'Millie' for our anniversary. It was a wonderful trip and one of the best cruises that we have taken. Overall, the ship was great. It seemed like every day got more and more incredible. We had 5 amazing days at sea and then toured the islands. Each shore excursion was memorable. We met so many wonderful people on this trip. We do have to say that all things associated with the trip to Ensenada from San Diego was not what one would hope to go through, but we just kept reminding ourselves that we had the cruise to look forward to, so it was tolerable. As I mentioned everything about the cruise was fantastic with one exception. Having sailed on many cruises with various cruise lines, I would have to say that we were somewhat disappointed in the quality of food served in the main dining rooms on several nights. We had heard so many great things about Celebrity that maybe our expectations were to high. Maybe this had to do with the fact that this was a repositioning cruise for the ship. But, for whatever reason, we were not impressed. Numerous other passengers with a vast history of cruising were also disappointed with this aspect of the cruise. That being said, every things else about our first cruise with Celebrity was wonderful. Our cabin was excellent. The service was very good. We were very impressed. One thing that impressed us was that this ship never seemed to be crowded even though the ship was close to capacity. We also enjoyed how quiet our hallway always seemed to be. The ship is well organized to allow you to move from one location to another. We did not have one complaint about our cabin. All other things probably exceeded our expectations. Although this was our first cruise with Celebrity, we would recommend this cruise line to anyone. We do have to admit that the atmosphere is different than you would experience with another cruise line such as RCL or Carnival (There were much fewer kids, perhaps due to the time of the year, and much more of a laid back atmosphere although there was plenty of fun things to experience on the ship. The entertainment was first class). We are already trying to plan our next cruise but may be spoiled now that we have experienced a trip to Hawaii! Overall, our cruise and additional days at Waikiki Beach were magical. We cannot wait to do this again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was my 11th cruise. In the past, we have chosen our ship and cruise line by destinations rather than loyalty to a particular cruise line and as a result we have been on ships from Holland America, Princess, Disney, Norwegian, Royal ... Read More
This was my 11th cruise. In the past, we have chosen our ship and cruise line by destinations rather than loyalty to a particular cruise line and as a result we have been on ships from Holland America, Princess, Disney, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. Usually we take a cruise because we want to get away from the Seattle rain, and also because we want to see someplace new and different. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have been particularly interested in a cruise up the west coast of the US that stopped in places I had already visited many times. However, when we received an e-mail from a travel agent we had used before explaining the deal he had put together we decided it was just too good to pass up. Celebrity was doing a repositioning cruise to get the Solstice from Australia where it had bee cruising in the Southern Hemisphere summer to Seattle where it would be on the summer run to Alaska. They broke the trip up into 3 segments, the last being the trip up the west coast from Ensenada. I suspect they had a lot of empty cabins and they offered our travel agent some great prices. He offered to fly us to San Diego (air fare included)where we would check in and then be bussed to Ensenada, an outside balcony cabin, a drink package where drinks including specialty coffees, all soft drinks and bottled water, beer up to $5, mixed drinks up to $8, and wine up to $8 glass were all included and unlimited. Then to top it off, all gratuities were included. This was a 10 day 9 night cruise with stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria B.C. and finally ending in Seattle where we live. The price for all this was $999 per person plus some tax and port fees which came out to a total of just over $1200. We could also leave early to spend extra time in San Diego at no extra charge except we would be paying for our hotel and any other pre cruise expenses. That package deal along with knowing we would be escaping the normal May rain in Seattle was enough to get me to pull out the old credit card. First, let me say Celebrity does many thing right, but the do some things very wrong. Because of the Passenger Vessel Service Act, an old law from 1886 meant to protect American shipping and American jobs, a foreign flagged vessel can't leave one American port going to another American port without stopping in a distant foreign port. The ship was coming from Hawaii so it couldn't end the cruise in San Diego. Likewise our cruise was ending in Seattle so we couldn't start in San Diego. We had to start in Ensenada. This was not Celebrity's fault but they had to transfer well over 2000 passengers to Ensenada. Everyone expected the check in to be a bit of an ordeal. Celebrity had never done this before since this wasn't a regular cruise. We had to check in for the cruise in San Diego and then get on buses for a two hour ride to Ensenada. We had to cross the international border with our luggage and nobody knew how long this would take. They said they were going to start check in at noon but we got there at 11:30 and they were already started. When I go on a vacation, I really try not to be upset by the little things and I understand and expect glitches along the way. I do know there was a lot of grumbling from people about how the check in was handled and I will explain what happened and maybe Celebrity will learn what they can do better next time. We got divided up into different lines at the check in. There was a drop off where we left our big bags before we actually started the check in process. These were to be taken directly to the ship by truck. The check in happened at the Sheraton Hotel where they had a huge white tent where people stood in line to get checked in. People who had the more expensive cabins or who had sailed many times on Celebrity got special treatment and got into shorter lines. That seems reasonable and I don't think anyone objected to that. We had sailed on Celebrity before but not enough to get into a short line. Still the lines moved pretty quickly and by 12:15 we were checked in and had been assigned a group number for boarding our bus. We were group 41. They had seats for us to sit with our carry on luggage. Celebrity had arranged for box lunches and water which were to be given out on the buses. I can understand that it takes time to move close to 3000 people but people were getting hungry and some people managed to get their box lunches early and were eating them and others including us were hungry and were told no lunches until we get on the bus. I understand that was a way of controlling who received lunches but as the afternoon rolled on, hunger was a problem. It was ridiculous to make us wait until almost 3 p.m. (when we got on our bus) for our lunch. The second problem was that while we were in groups waiting, there was a steady stream of people who were put at the head of the line. These were frequent cruisers on Celebrity who were allowed to jump to the front of the line and that created a lot of resentment to those who had been waiting. We finally got to board our bus at 2:45PM and got our box lunch. If I was making suggestions to Celebrity, I would say give people their box lunch as they finished their check in. Give people a number to get on the bus then and don't allow anyone the right to jump in front of other passengers just because they have sailed many times before. I didn't mind them having shorter lines for check in but after check in, then people should be treated equally. I also think nobody would mind if there were separate buses just for the privileged passengers but to see people continually allowed to jump ahead offended many who were waiting. We left San Diego just before 3 and were getting off the bus at the ship just before 5 PM. We went right to our cabin and they were announcing the lifeboat drill for 5:30. There was still over a third of the passengers who hadn't arrived. We went to the drill which was really just a video in the dining room and then went off to explore the ship. Since we had just eaten at 3 we were not hungry. We were very impressed with the ship. It is big and beautiful with lots of glitz. My dear wife loves her coffee and we found a specialty coffee place called Cafe al Bacio on deck 5 that serves wonderful coffees all free with our drink pass. We stopped for an iced specialty coffee that was made with espresso and chocolate and whipped cream and was fantastic. We sat down with some folks from Australia and had a great time just relaxing. A second thing that Celebrity does that I found annoying and dumb was they way they handled the service club meeting. Many passengers on cruises are members of service clubs like Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis etc. and most cruise ships have a time and a place where the members of the various service clubs can meet and talk about what their clubs are doing. They advertise the location and time for these meetings in the daily bulletin. It is a great way to meet your fellow passengers who share interests with you. So, I went down to the customer relations desk when it wasn't too crowded to ask if they were having a service club meeting on board. We had a great meeting on the last Celebrity sailing I was on but the people at the Solstice desk seems to have never heard of it. They said it was against company policy to put announcements for things like that in the daily bulletin. I would think they would do everything the could to get people who are in service clubs to cruise with them. It would be so easy to put the announcement in the daily bulletin for a day at sea. They said they would put a notice up on the bulletin board by the desk but of course very few people would read it. This whole episode just makes me wonder who is really in charge and how bright they really are. The way Celebrity handled this was very poor and I would actually hesitate to sail with them again just because they treated us so shabbily. They put the notice of the meeting up on a bulletin board that few read, and then put the wrong location on the notice. Then they took the notice down to fix their mistake but forgot to put it back up. Not surprising, we didn't get a big turnout. To me, this is just an example of Celebrity missing the boat when it comes to service. The ship itself was very nice. It was large but never felt crowded. The main dining room was in the back of the ship on decks 3 and 4. We chose select dining meaning we didn't have an assigned table or time. We ate on deck 4 for dinner and usually sat at a table for 8 or 10. We usually had new table mates for each dinner which gave us an opportunity to meet more people. We found many people were from the Northwest and were on the same cruise package deal we were on. The food was very good and we never saw a need to visit any of the specialty dining rooms where there was a charge. The first night, things were a bit confused with very slow service but after that, everything went very smoothly. Our stateroom was about what I expected. It looked very nice and the bed was comfortable. It had a bit less closet and drawer space than some ships I have been on and the way the closet was situated, it was hard to use. There was the couch set to within about 18 inches of the closet which was really just poor design. Other than that, the room was very nice and we lucked out because we were near the elevator. The room contained the normal amenities like a refrigerator and a safe. We had great cabin attendants who would make up the room promptly and deliver ice. Overall we were quite pleased with the accommodations. One of the best places to hang out on the ship was the solarium. This was an adults only pool on deck 12 that had a glass roof. It had a swimming pool and two hot tubs and lots of lounge chairs. Even when the temperature was in the 50's on our sea day north of San Francisco, the solarium was quite warm. With our drink card package, we could sit in there and read while imbibing on a margarita or a cold beer. The shows were very professional. They were at 8:30 and 10:30. The early show was always full and the late show nearly empty. I think they would have been better off to start them at 7:30 and 9:30. There were several comedy acts, a magician and some Broadway singing. Then there was a spectacular show with acrobats doing a Cirque du soleil type performance. Everyone says to make sure to see the Hot glass show. This is up on deck 15 where they have the lawn. I don't really see the need for the lawn on the ship but they have it. The hot glass show was interesting but it is cold up there and most people watched for awhile and then left. It was ok but not a can't miss as far as I was concerned. The observation lounge in the front of the ship is normally one of the nicest places to spend your time on a sea day. The lounge of deck 14 was very nice but I was disappointed that they decided to use this space for an art auction on our second sea day. They put art up in such a way you couldn't sit and watch the water. This took up the whole day and since this cruise only had 2 sea days, it meant that half the time the observation lounge was not usable. This again was just poor planning on the part of the people in charge. I know that the art auction makes money for the cruise but I doubt if there were 50 people interested in it out of 2700 passengers and it sure inconvenienced those of us who wanted to sit and look for sea life. My overall opinion of Celebrity was the ship was great, the food was great, the solarium was great. The cabin was pretty good, and decisions that allowed the art auction in the observation lounge, the lack of putting the service club announcement in the daily bulletin and they way they handled the busing and lunch for Ensenada was down right dumb. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our first cruise on Celebrity. I had heard that the food was way better than other lines we had been on and the ship was gorgeous. I have to say, I don't agree with either. We flew into San Diego and were greeted by celebrity ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Celebrity. I had heard that the food was way better than other lines we had been on and the ship was gorgeous. I have to say, I don't agree with either. We flew into San Diego and were greeted by celebrity staff. Celebrity provided transfers to Ensenada, where the ship was departing from. We arrived at the airport at about 11 and were taken by bus to the Sheraton Marina for checkin. The lines were long and we had to wait for a bus to take us to Ensenada. The bus trip took two hours and we had no problems. We did have to wait in line before we were allowed to get off the bus. This cruise became the "queue" cruise. It seemed we waited in line an awful lot. Our bags arrived in a timely fashion and after muster we had dinner in the main dining room. We ate all of our meals in either the MDR or buffet. The food was adequate, but not as high quality as I had been expecting. I thought the variety of food was lacking and my husband and daughter had to send their steaks back to have them cooked properly. The breakfast buffet was ok, but lacked variety and was boring after nine days. We did have the free drink promotion, so we were able to get fresh squeezed orange juice every morning, which we enjoyed. We felt the entertainment on the ship lacking also. We skipped most shows as they did not interest us. We went to see the comedian, Dave Burleigh, who was very good. The next night was a comedian/impressionist. We left before the end of the show. Also, the cruise director was the most absent cruise director of any ship we have ever been on. She didn't do anything to make the cruise entertaining. After nine days, my daughter had no idea who she even was. The ship is pretty, but we missed the active promenade area that we are used to on the Royal Caribbean ships. There was no real gathering place on this ship, except for the martini bar area, which is very small. The ships interior trim and quality was beautiful and the cabin decor was very nice, but the cabins are on the small side. This sailing was definitely an older crowd and as far as we could tell, most people went to bed after the first main show. We were disappointed in the lack of activities at night. We went to a "jeopardy" type game show and there were about 8 of us there. Same goes for the trivia and karaoke. Most activities at night involved music, which were the same every night in various venues. We did enjoy Patricia and her Zumba classes and party. Since the weather was so cold, we were not able to really use the lawn area or the hot glass show. We went up to watch once and it was just too cold to stay. Not Celebrity's fault on that one.We did love the itinerary though. We did the San Diego zoo, California Adventure(which was cut a little short due to the ship not being cleared for over an hour and a half once we arrived), cable car, Chinatown and fisherman's wharf in San Francisco. Saw only a bit of the Golden Gate Bridge going under when we arrived and departed as it was shrouded in fog the entire day. Walked around downtown Astoria, where all the locals went out of their way to make this stop enjoyable and finally Victoria, where we toured Butchart Gardens and enjoyed their downtown, shopping and having a beer at a Scottish pub. Overall, we had a good time. I liked not being hounded for extra money for everything, although i thought the charges for the specialty restaurants were a bit high. Loved the ports, the ship, not so much. It was definitely an older crowd (and we are in our fifties), With scooters parked out by the stairs. We will stick with Royal Caribbean. We enjoy a livelier cruise with better entertainment and activities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
- Background Information We were a group of 4 adults, 3 had cruised before, one was a new cruiser. The cruise was booked partly as a celebration -- my niece graduated from university with a Masters in Geology, and my brother and his wife ... Read More
- Background Information We were a group of 4 adults, 3 had cruised before, one was a new cruiser. The cruise was booked partly as a celebration -- my niece graduated from university with a Masters in Geology, and my brother and his wife are both retiring next year. I just went along for the ride, having wanted to visit Hawaii for the past 40 years! As a disabled traveller, I'd had considerable contact with both the Shore Excursions department and the Special Needs department, and both seemed efficient and reassuring -- I felt I'd covered all possible issues, and made sure that the holiday would go smoothly. - Hotel Info (if any) We flew into LA, and expected a flight to San Diego, though as it turned out that flight was cancelled, so we were transferred by bus. No sign of any Celebrity representatives at San Diego airport, so in spite of having vouchers for transfers, we had to find our own way to the Sheraton hotel -- we used the hotel shuttle. This was the first sign that things might not go as smoothly as it should -- the room booked for me and my niece was not wheelchair accessible, despite assurances I'd received from Celebrity's Special Needs department that everything had been arranged. We were able to transfer to an accessible room, so we put it down to 'one of those things', and prepared to enjoy ourselves as the holiday developed. - Travel To Port of Embarkation Transfers from San Diego to Ensenada were a nightmare. We were transferred from the hotel at mid-day, and waited in what can only be described as a warehouse, with little in the way of facilities. Catering was joke, as were restroom facilities. In spite of contact with Celebrity, no-one at the pier seemed aware that I needed a bus with a wheelchair lift. Eventually we boarded a coach, and had to sit for over an hour while other buses were filled, and they started to put people on ours. Then came the long, slow journey to Ensenada -- the whole transfer took over nine hours from the time we were collected from the hotel. Surely it's not beyond Celebrity's capability to allow those staying in hotels to remain there until there's a realistic chance of them being able to leave the port? We eventually arrived at 9.20pm, just in time for the muster -- no refreshments and no chance to use the restrooms. - Ship Info We'd seen the ship in San Diego, and thought that, in spite of the refit, she was looking a bit 'scruffy'. However, on boarding our first impressions were good -- everything was clean, bright and polished. I wasn't keen on the glass lifts, but that's a personal thing, and I soon found enclosed lifts I felt more comfortable with. - Stateroom This is where things started to fall apart. We'd booked an accessible balcony cabin, but it was anything but accessible. There was no room to get the wheelchair next to the bed for transfers, and even after the stateroom attendant moved the furniture, I couldn't get onto the balcony with the wheelchair. There was barely enough turning space for the wheelchair, and no seating for my niece, apart from the desk chair. It was difficult all through the cruise to move around the stateroom. My niece kept turning the main light on during the night, since her bed was right next to the wall where the switch was located, and she knocked it when she turned over or moved at night. The bathroom was huge, and easy to use. The balcony is overlooked from the lifts, since for some reason Celebrity have put a transparent panel at the end of the balcony, unlike on other decks where there is a solid panel. - Dining Meals in all venues were fantastic -- I think the only places I didn't eat were Blu and Cafe al Bacio, although I had several coffees at the Cafe -- great place to wait for dinner, and listen to the piano player. The Metropolitan was great, and our waiters were just attentive enough without being annoying. The sommelier was fantastic, we never had to ask for a refill. We also ate in the Olympic and at Qsine, where we found the staff very friendly and informative, and a great laugh! Most lunchtimes found us in Aqua Spa Cafe -- fantastic food -- and occasionally at the Pool Grill, where I had the best cheeseburgers and fries I've ever tasted! Oceanview Cafe was a bit difficult to negotiate, as the servers didn't seem to see me sitting low down, and it was difficult to attract their attention. I would just like to give extra points to the ice-cream station, which not only served great ice-cream, they seemed to be more on the ball than the rest of the cafe -- maybe because they weren't so busy. - Activities We didn't take part in a lot of organised activities, although I did go to talks on Astronomy given by Michelle Thaller -- great lecturer, made difficult concepts easy to get a grip on, even if I didn't understand them all as well as she did! We did the quizzes in Rendezvous, and didn't disgrace ourselves, at least! My niece was involved in some volleyball sessions, which she enjoyed greatly. Mostly on sea days we sat by one or other of the pools, taking the occasional dip or soak in the Jacuzzi -- although the jigsaw in the Library saw a lot of activity when it was too hot to sit out. We all found other passengers very friendly and helpful, and had some great conversations with people we met at various venues. - Service On the whole, service was great -- there was one major exception, a Guest Services representative who dismissed my concerns about the stateroom being unsuitable, and kept telling me to phone the travel agent! Completely uninterested and offhand. In contrast, when I broke the footrest on my wheelchair, another Guest Services representative went out of her way to make sure I got a temporary repair -- so many thanks to her, and to Greg the maintenance man who carried out the repair. - Entertainment The entertainment was good, though we missed some of the late night shows -- it would have been nice if they could have been on a little earlier. I particularly enjoyed the 'casual' entertainment -- the piano player, the string quartet, and the a cappella singers. - Port & Shore Excursions I can't comment on these -- in spite of informing Celebrity at several points about my capabilities and needs, they sold me excursions at tendered ports, which they knew I would not be able to take. A cruise to Hawaii became 'a cruise to near Hawaii'. I was never so disappointed in anything in my life -- I'd spent almost £3000 on a cruise that was not, and never could have been, what I'd planned. All Celebrity had to do was to tell me there was no roll-on capability, and that 8 steps would be involved in tendering, and I wouldn't have booked the cruise. Right up until the morning in Kailua-Kona, I believed that I would be able to tender, and that was confirmed by the Shore Excursions rep, who gave us instructions about where to go for transfer to the tender. It was only after waiting for an hour, and asking several times what was going on, that we discovered that I wouldn't be able to tender -- and by that time the tour had left from a different gangway, so my family couldn't go on it either. They enjoyed the rest of their excursions, while I spent time on the pool deck or exploring the ship. - Disembarkation Disembarkation went fairly smoothly, though again, the staff didn't seem to be aware that I need a bus with a wheelchair lift for transfer to the airport. We flew from Honolulu to Los Angeles, and again in spite of vouchers, there was no transport to our overnight hotel arranged, and no sign of Celebrity anywhere. - Summary This cruise was very disappointing for me, since I was unable to visit the place I had booked the holiday to see. The cruise itself was good, with the exception of the unsuitable cabin. For my family, their experience was good, although they didn't feel Celebrity's standards matched those of the MSC Splendida, which they'd travelled on earlier this year. None of us have any wish to travel with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Where do I start? This was supposed to be the best holiday us a family where ever going to have!My financial situation won't allow me to save that money again my eldest daughter said she would never do that trip again.Schools will ... Read More
Where do I start? This was supposed to be the best holiday us a family where ever going to have!My financial situation won't allow me to save that money again my eldest daughter said she would never do that trip again.Schools will only allow term holidays now or your fined.And the most important point, my Husband is disabled and has a degenerative spine condition he will never be able to travel that distance ever again!! This was a surprise holiday for my Husbands 50th Birthday to his ultimate destination Hawaii.My father in-law was a merchant seaman and had recently passed away,my husband sat with his dying father and he reminisced about the time he spent at sea in Hawaii and how his Son should visit this beautiful part of the World.So know I knew what to do for his 50th. It took me a year to save for this trip it was a surprise, I couldn't get any financial help from Hubby he didn't Know! Firstly we travelled from Liverpool 4hrs drive to London Heathrow.Then 11&1/2hrs flight to San Diego.In San Diego Airport was our first queue 1&1/2 hrs in a small room, packed with people to get through customs and then our First US Customs Form.We got outside to pandemonium trying to find our hotel transfer so we could use our Celebrity's Transfer Voucher USELESS!Nobody wanted to take it,instead we used the Sheraton's bus transfer. The Sheraton was our Pre cruise hotel which was lovely,room,Staff,food (of which we paid for.)Stayed overnight.We were being picked up 12pm in the Afternoon.Got on the coach our understanding was we were visiting San Diego's Street Pier B then going straight on to Ensenada where we would board the Celebrity Millennium's 5* ship Pfft!Anyway back to horror that was Street Pier B.The coach literally drove round the corner (could have walked). As we pulled in, the Millennium was in Dock.We immediately thought we were boarding here.Some passengers Said no that can't happen,others said we must be,because it would take way too long for the ship to get to Ensenada. It only took 2-3hrs depending on the Border by coach, so we would be there before the ship!This confusion carried on for the next 4&1/2hrs most of this was spent in another QUEUE, FILLING IN MORE FORMS (so that's 4 forms x four people=16 forms to fill in whilst queueing with nothing to lean on) WITH CHILDREN, WITH NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK!at the end of the queue we got seapass cards and a piece of paper with the No 49 on it.When I enquired what was it for? The lady said look on the clip board for your number.I informed her the numbers stopped at 46, which stated the time 6:30pm. She then informed me we would be there long after 6:30 then!There where very uncomfortable metal seats in this room toilets where a mess, some not working,no food or drink left that celebrity had put on.This was Horrific and I had paid for this!Finally the coaches started boarding about 4:30pm so that's 12:15-4:30!!!!Got on the Coach set off thank god,well so you would have thought. The coach had no Toilet or A/C and we were on it for 5hrs stuck between approx 50 coaches at the Border no sorry, this bit was the Horrific part.We finally arrived at Ensenada and other people must have suffered the same toiletry denial, because I am not exaggerating the toilets in this port had excrement on the floor where I think some of the older passengers had not been able to hold on any longer. Sorry, this bit was the most Horrific Part. Then we crawled to the ship,to be greeted by staff who wanted us to have 'Welcome aboard Photos, Please! You should have seen the state of us. Other staff trying to force their restaurant vouchers or spa deals.I couldn't believe they where doing this, they must have known what we had just been through! There where four of us in our party 3adults 1child, I booked a Family Deluxe Stateroom with Veranda, sound big enough for 4?It did to me.I have seen bigger bathrooms!We couldn't all unpack there just was not the room.It was tiny could not swing a cat!The trundle bed my daughter had to sleep on was broken we reported it,it never got changed.I asked for a larger room but was denied they said nothing was available. I didn't believe that I think they thought I wanted it free!I would have gladly used my spends so we could have been comfortable.We were met with no empathy at all! We were as sick as dogs for 2 days I was told you couldn't feel the ship moving, rubbish! when we did get on deck my son wanted to get in the pool every person in the pool glared at us as we got in shaking their heads one person then pointed at the pool sign, at the 'No Children' part.We made a hasty retreat before they drowned us and went to the other pools. Every single one had 'No Children' On the signs.Some people had a real moan about children being on the ship and they shouldn't be in the pool.I tried to think of a clever comeback,only SHUT IT,came out!Oops.I was concerned about insurance if something had happened in the pool would we not have been covered because it says no children? But nobody tells you this when booking.The food I thought was very bland and repetitive, staff couldn't be bothered.We where told by other passengers if you made complaints about specifics the staff would lose their jobs so I did not want my husband who was now at teeth baring frothing mouth ,angry looking pitbull dog stage, to go and complain.I had to constantly calm him down.Stress-less travelling not on your Nelly. Entertainment, One word actually there`s three OUT OF TUNE!In the Theatre singers out of breath dancers falling over had to leave before we where thrown out for laughing! Then after 5days at sea we had arrived at port in Hawaii yay.Got a letter in the room to tell us to meet at Deck 6 at 7:30am guess what, another queue with more forms!We queued and slowly made our way up to deck 11 where 1 US border official was trying to process 2000 passengers unreal!We had an Excursion to get to at 9am, more Stress! Eventually 4 more US officials arrived, nobody could get off until it was done. The Excursion I just mentioned was purchased through the ship and it included a visit to Pan'e'wea Zoo where we would see a rare white Bengal Tiger couldn't wait, so after Akaka falls (lovely)and a Macadamia nut factory visit(could have done without.)We then where on our way to the Zoo.We arrived I and the kids ran to Namaste's(tigers name)enclosure,to find it was Namaste's day off he was'nt there!(I know... close your Mouth) Then the days the ship tendered was a queueing nightmare as well.They would tell you to be at a certain point at a certain time but nothing was ever ready the staff would say it's not worth waiting here, because the backlog of people was huge.They advised, to go to a public place so you could here the announcement of when it was ok to disembark. So we did as was asked and went to the pool area to wait for announcements and low and behold the tannoy system didn't work!When we did finally get to leave it was scary getting children and yourselves on lifeboats banging against the ship on a very rough Ocean. Nobody ever apologised ,no announcements or apologises for the San Diego/Ensenada horror no apology for US Customs Hold up no apologies for hold ups trying to disembark.We even sailed through a Tsunami we where thrown around our cabin had to put my son in bed with us before he flew out of the bunk bed.We found this out of other passengers what had happened through the night,again no announcements saftey warnings or apologies from the Captain to see if every one was OK.My husband found screws and metal sheets in the pool which could have caused damage to somebody.He called a member of staff to show him what he had just fished out of the water,Staff member just shrugged his shoulders and walked off.Hubby did get pictures before staff member took it. The final straw for me was the first day in Honolulu. We got up a the crack of dawn we where heading to Waikiki beach(It is Gorgeous!)We were starting our journey back home the next day so we had a couple of hours on the beach then had to make our way back to the ship to check in for our flight using the ships computer,it was going to be busy, a lot of people where departing the next day.So I'm told to go the ilounge Deck11 when I get there are people visibly distressed they said the computers Internet kept disconnecting but they where still being charged.Being Charged? That's news to me. Now I had organised an Excursion for the whole Family to a Hawaiian Luau traditional Hawaiian dances,food,craft making in Paradise Cove couldn't wait great photos for us to remember for years to come. Got into the ilounge approx 1:30 told the others to start getting ready for Luau at 3:30-3:45. The Internet kept cutting off but carried on charging me.The printer broke down somebody went down to guest services to tell them we needed help.Nobody came!When I finally got on to the Airline site there where only preferred seating left which meant I had to pay, my oldest child had to sit miles away from us and I had to pay for our 3 seats $49 each. I didn't have my credit card with me, luckily my daughter came in to see why I was taking so long.I got her to run back to our CUPBOARD Sorry Cabin to get my Credit Card.Then my Husband came up to see why I needed my Card, when I told him why he started to get agitated because as far as he and I was concerned I'd already paid for my seats. It was now 3:35 I gave up trying to print boarding passes phoned guest services to ask if they could let the Ships Excursion staff know we were on our way She Said 'No i can't the phone lines are down' and proceeded to put the phone down on me. The tears just started rolling down my face, I could not hold them back any longer!I was trying not to show the family how upset I was, but this usually care free,happy woman had finally broken down!And then when they see the Woman who holds them all together break down they break down!We ran crying all the way through the ship up the gangway down three flights of stairs into the port to meet our Excursion for the Luau and they had gone!!!It was just after 3:45.We made our way back to the ship absolutely gutted so upset.We arrived at security which was just in front of guest relations the security guard was shocked to see us back so soon and crying.I headed straight for reception and let rip then a member of staff came with a walkie talkie and said 'you want to go on excursion' in broken English we all shouted yes!She said follow me.Which we did all wiping tears away and the excitement at going to the Luau was back.We again ran up the gangway down the stairs and there was the Excursion staff, we thanked the guest relation lady she ran back to the ship we then looked at the excursion lady and said 'we're so happy thought we missed you''You can't go on the Luau' she said 'they are 20 mins down the road Our jaws hit the floor!She tried to put us on another one but we had done them all, I had spent $1328.00 on excursions.I demanded our money back she said she would try.I glared at her and said you make sure you try very hard or else.We did get a refund for the Luau. It cost me $45 to use the Internet, disgusted! We spent our last night wondering the shops in Honolulu nice but not what we had dreamt of! Our suitcases where picked up at 11pm that night and we were told to meet on Deck3 at 7:15am to leave the ship. So another early rise 5am get ready, queue for breakfast, get to rendezvous. We where kept waiting again they said it was US customs holding us up not the baggage because that had been done last night the staff had worked all through the night, he said. So we could leave efficiently but by now I didn't believe a word the Celebrity staff said. When we were finally told we could leave, which was after 9am.We got down to the pier to find not one suitcase or bag ready to go...Liars!!! There was no Celebrity Staff to direct us to transfer coaches it was a complete mess again. Most passengers said I can't queue anymore I can't argue anymore, I'm getting my own taxi to the Airport which was 20-25 mins away. WE WILL NEVER CRUISE AGAIN EVER!!I think I wasted £10,500 the rest I spent was excursions and costs and I'm glad I spent that, as we would not have seen some of Hawaii. Hawaii was the only positive thing about the Cruise in my opinion. It feels like we need to go back it is as though the bad things that happened have overshadowed what should have been an amazing Journey. When sitting on the transfer coach we heard this tale,A Lady on the cruise celebrated her 60th birthday on the ship and her wrapped birthday presents and cards where stolen out of her cabin. One elderly couple we met at LA airport said he'd been on Celebrity Solstice and was told by the medical officer he was having a heart attack, because he was light headed and the doctor noticed a small bruise on his arm and rushed him to hospital. When he got there they dismissed the heart attack straight away but the ship had sailed without them so he and 83 year old wife had to organise their own flights home not one member of Celebrity helped them get there.CELEBRITY SORT YOURSELVES OUT!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was my 3 times cruise with Carnival cruise line only because they got the destinations i want and very affordable, the last cruise before this cruise from Miami to Jamaica was the most fun vacation i ever had in my life, yup in my ... Read More
This was my 3 times cruise with Carnival cruise line only because they got the destinations i want and very affordable, the last cruise before this cruise from Miami to Jamaica was the most fun vacation i ever had in my life, yup in my life...and im 56 yrs old man. OK, to this cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, Mex. The Inspiration vessel is some what newer than the Glory from Miami?, im not sure but looks good...seems smaller, no long line on the buffet, the food was good for what we paid, i dont expect best food for the price that we booked for 256$/pp for a 4 nights. the staff was very polite, dress up clean and very helpful. We had an issue with the wet floor from the past passengers in our room, but the crew really tried their best to dry it, in the end they gave us a 20$ discount from it. the putput golf costs money to play, i think its 20$/hr. Not a lot of dancing clubs as the Glory line, but it was enough, i sang in the Karaoke club, which was a big club. i think i saw only 1 theater for shows, versus the Glory with 2 theaters. But i saw 2 formal dinning rooms, 1 in the front and 1 in the back of ship. I would go again, it was short enough cruise time... Ensenada, Mexico was fun but was not enough time, it was violent there in downtown, my friends saw a big fight between 2 gangs with no shirts and tattoo, military came and they were all disappear, but during the violent tourists were shatter every where... I would suggest 1st time tourists not to book the city tour, it was a ripped off, you dont need it, all you have to do is to walk 1/4 mile from the dock to the main street and then make a left turn onto the main street to another 1/2 mile and you are in the heart of downtown to walk around all day, or to rent a 4x4 ATV right there on the main st for 25$/hr to ride any where, and to the blow hole too. The city tours take you thru town in the bus no stopping and then take you outside of city on the highway to north for a beach house lunch then back for 26$/pp, but you will lose 3 hrs on land. I would definitely recommended the ATV rental and the Horse back riding. Dont forget to stop by the main sea food market in town for fresh caught fish for lunch. The cruise also stops at Catalina Island a very neat town, a must rent a golf cart to ride around town, plus fishing was good on the pier with tackle rental in town. I really enjoy the trip, strongly recommended to any one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We decided to take two back to back cruises on Carnivals' Spirit due to its unique Hawaii itinerary which included many nights in Maui and Honolulu. Hence, living on the Pacific coast, boarding in San Diego would be great. Much to our ... Read More
We decided to take two back to back cruises on Carnivals' Spirit due to its unique Hawaii itinerary which included many nights in Maui and Honolulu. Hence, living on the Pacific coast, boarding in San Diego would be great. Much to our dismay only check in was in San Diego while 2,300 guests were shipped by bus through the dreaded 2 1/2 hour drive to Ensenada to fulfill the obsolete Jones Act. While most cruise lines have worked around this legislation by including foreign ports prior to American port visits, Carnivals' failure was dreadful. The United States government and the cruise line should be considerate to fellow American taxpayers and cruise clients in helping avoid such ridiculous situations by adhering to moot legislation better suited in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Hence, check in was very poor and many guests reached the ship by midnight. What a start as you could imagine. The Carnival Spirit nearly cracks the 90000 tonnage barrier and is finely constructed using marble, granite and warm woods placed in a free flowing layout. Most staterooms are not inside and the ship never felt older. We had suites and Carnival leads the pack in this value quotient. Our suites measured from 345 to 450 square feet including a large balcony and were finely trimmed in wood, marble, granite, mirrors and recessed lighting all fit for a five star hotel. Our baths had whirlpool tubs and double sinks layered in granite. Such staterooms would cost thousands more in competitive cruise lines. Service and amenities were basic and nothing in addition to any standard staterooms, hence acceptable but not in line with the physical scale of the suites. One huge Carnival failure is their past guest program. Any guest who travels a three day cruise in an inside stateroom would get the same point as a guest cruising in a penthouse suite even for a 18 day cruise. We have cruised over 150 days with Carnival in long segments mainly in suites but had the same points as guests who had cruised six three day segments in inside cabins. An 18 day cruiser had the same points as a 150 days cruiser!!! Ridiculous. A quick lesson from Celebrity cruise lines is in order! Overall dining was good with no complaints. The Lido had a good selection of fish, meats, and breakfast items. Dinner was more scarce in the Lido but the formal dining was fine. The selection and polish of Celebrity Cruises or Holland America is not part of the equation but its really not expected. Two CAVEATS. Hygiene of fellow guests in the Lido was poor as coughs and sneezes in and on the buffet food/lines was horrible. Scarce sanitizers made matters worst. Celebrity staff would administer hand sanitizers to all guests entering the dining areas personally. Not so here. Once again, the overall refinement and hygiene of some guests both in the Lido and pools is a problem which has sadly plagued American society in general and may be a problem for picky cruisers. A huge hygiene issue involved the lack of toilet seat covers in public bathrooms, a health hazard primarily while cruising with children. Another annoying caveat was the fact that many announcements were made each day at all times through ALL speakers in the ship (both near staterooms and on your head in Lido and the formal dining room) by the cruise director namely trying to sell you products or services. The announcements were so loud that I avoided going to the dining room! This is not in line with a vacation people expect. Once the cruise director spoke, forget napping in your room. This situation resembled an auction like atmosphere not in line with a cruise literally intruding on your quietude, sleep and calm dining. Overall, entertainment was below average. One show throughout a 12 day cruise was good enough with special effects and live music. More such shows would be needed. Classical music was not existent on the ship; live music was limited to a duo (they were good) and another loud group trying to capture music of Hawaii with not much success. Couple of pianists were around which was a good touch. The children's fun factory area was limited to a corner far away in the ship with not much outside light or ventilation. The ship pools were deep and not suitable for young children as well. Also, very young children had to share pools with overly confident individuals with very revealing swimming attire not appropriate in such very large sizes. It is perfectly normal for all people to swim and enjoy the sun. On the same token, attire and swimwear should be in good taste. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but one cannot impose it and proper good taste for all people cannot be redefined and should be observed in resort family settings. Again, it is not the cruise lines' fault what has become of social norms. Nevertheless, dedicated areas for young children is in order at the very least. Enough of the caveats, right. With these in mind, one cannot deny the positive. The Spirit is a nice ship with a good layout and quality finishes inside and out. On a nice day you can enjoy the sea both atop the ship or on your private balcony avoiding crowds. Staterooms are comfortable. Overall dining both casual and formal are pretty good both in quality and choice. In sum, what sets this cruise apart was the itinerary. Two back to back cruises gave great insight into the islands of Hawaii with overnights in Honolulu, Maui. Ample time was given to stroll these islands to spend time as you wish. We have cruised nearly 400 days with most lines for extended periods of time. I strongly feel that cruising is the best way to view our beautiful planet. Enjoy exotic ports and return to the comfort of your ship is the essence of fine cruising. People who love the sea would enjoy this cruise. Furthermore, extended time in Hawaii was a huge plus. On the same token, do not expect the polish and refinement of premium cruise lines. I have cruised 150 days with Celebrity ships and remain impressed by their careful blend of service, up to the minute quality and elegant ship beauty. The Carnival Spirit is not in the same league which is fine. For many, the Spirit is more than enough and still a unique departure from land based vacations packed with value. It is just that some cruise ships have managed to feel more like five star resorts and have given careful attention to detail even beyond land based resorts.Leon J. Makasjian Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This cruise turned out to be two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise was 5 relaxing days at sea. The second part of the cruise was 7 hectic days in the Hawaiian ports. Unfortunately, the embarkation process (busses transferred ... Read More
This cruise turned out to be two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise was 5 relaxing days at sea. The second part of the cruise was 7 hectic days in the Hawaiian ports. Unfortunately, the embarkation process (busses transferred everyone from San Diego down to Ensenada) started all of us off in a sour mood. The ship left San Diego late, which caused the busses to leave late. Instead of leaving at 3pm, we didn't leave until around 6:45. On the way down, we were escorted by Mexican Policia. But, right before we got into Ensenada, our bus quickly pulled off of the road into an abandoned lot, where an empty bus was waiting. We were pointed in the direction of the new bus -- neither bus driver spoke english. All we were told was that our bus was "broke" -- even though the bus made 95% of the trip without a problem. We literally could see the Spirit from where we were pulled over. Then, after loading onto the new bus, we went on to rejoin the convoy, and proceeded to make a wrong turn onto the pier. Once we made the correction and got into the queue, we pulled forward, right in front of a package that military personnel thought was suspicious. They called specialized military men to investigate...but left us on the bus not 20 feet from the package. We finally boarded the Spirit at around 9:45. We were all frustrated and tired from all day of traveling. The Spirit finally set sail around 11:00, leaving us without a day of meals, activities, and fun. The first 5 days from Ensenada to Hawaii can be summed up by 2 words -- Cold and Wavy. The temps averaged 68 degrees, and the Spirit was constantly bobbing up and down in the big waves. Being at sea for 5 full days gave us the opportunity to find our way around the ship, and meet a lot of other cruisers. There were many activities planned, and the Entertainment staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. One of the most helpful on the Entertainment staff was Joey. He quickly learned all of our names, and even played card games after hours with the children. The main shows were awesome, especially the second show, The Big Easy. It's amazing they have all of those sets and costumes on board. The entertainers were adequate. One comedian wasn't funny, and one of the evening acts actually put us to sleep. We were disappointed with the dining experience. We requested 6:00 dining, because of our two children. However, 85% of the cruise was over 70 years old, so the early dining was understandably all booked. So, we opted for the Your Time Dining. We were able to eat at 6:00 anyways, so it worked out. Our wait staff all went out of their way to learn what our favorites were. Our disappointment was with the selection of food. There were a couple evenings that we looked at the menu and saw chicken, fish, and maybe a pork selection, but nothing that said "wow, I gotta have that". So a couple nights we actually chose to go to the buffet instead of the sit down dinner. The buffet was ok, but after all it was a buffet, so we didn't expect too much. Overall we would give the cruise a 8 out of 10. Better food and a better embarkation process and it would've been a higher score. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Background Information: Engaged the Carnival Spirit Hawaii trip through a local SLC agency to full fill my wife's dream of visiting Hawaii. This state visit completes our visits to all 50! Hotel Info: We stayed post cruise at the ... Read More
Background Information: Engaged the Carnival Spirit Hawaii trip through a local SLC agency to full fill my wife's dream of visiting Hawaii. This state visit completes our visits to all 50! Hotel Info: We stayed post cruise at the Mariott on Waikiki. What a wonderful relief from the ship. Ship Info: The ship was not only dated but worn. Half of the drawer and cabinet handles were broken. The edges of doors and entry ways were worn. Elevator doors were marked with grafitti (on the inside). The ship rocked back and forth when the swells got over four feet. Even though it rained on most of the ocean crossing days, the top cover was never closed to help with the cold. The whirl pools were not heated (colder than the air temp in Hawaii). Activities: The evening shows were well done. Seating above the main floor was lousy with no real leg space. The ADA access to upstairs was a joke. The local naturalist was an incredible bright spot! Internet acess was good but sooo expensive!! The Library was a version of a bad book sale from an old school library. Service: We met our room steward twice during the trip. I don't think he understood english well enough to carry on a conversation let alone persue our requests. Port & Shore Excursions: Since we did our shore excursions with our local travel agency, we had significant reductions in price when visiting each island. Since we did not go with Carnival shore excursions, we were consistently held to the very last to get off the ship. With 2200 people before us, we wasted a huge amount of time! Travel To Port of Embarkation: Bused from LAX to San Diego. Went through Emigration and initial ship registration. Told to go get some lunch (on Carnival) because they were so very far behind schedule. The BONUS was a few bucks for lunch and for others was free bar drinks. A second dinner bonus was credited our account. Bused to Ensenda in the evening. One of the worst parts of the cruise was speeding around curves and through the towns in the dark. After arriving at Ensenada, we waited on the bus for an hour before being let onto the ship. We got on the ship an hour after it was supposed to sail. Stateroom: Dated and worn. Had to ask for a chair. Bed covers were wonderul. Beds were hard and the twins did not match well for combination bed. Don't ask for an OCEAN VIEW as you get the lowest deck. We heard the engines all the time. In the bath room, our feet vibrated from the engine noise! Cleaning was less than acceptable. Had same drinking glasses for three days (left over stuff in them). Asked another room steward for new ones. Dining: The evening dining was brightened by our delightful hosts with wonderful service. Too bad the food was not as great as the service. Gave up after 5 nights and ate at the self serve Lido deck: warmer food & we could choose a reasonable serving size. The special dining for $30 extra is a joke! The scheduled time and same dining table each meal got really boring fast. Children's Clubs: Not used. Did not travel with children. Disembarkation: Since we we traveled with our local travel agency, we were not given priority over Carnival connections. We were held for two hours to get off the ship. We wasted a huge amount of time! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We received a flyer in the mail, advertising continuing education credits available on a 12-day cruise to Hawaii. Thinking this would be a good way for my husband and I to get a vacation in while renewing our clinical laboratory ... Read More
We received a flyer in the mail, advertising continuing education credits available on a 12-day cruise to Hawaii. Thinking this would be a good way for my husband and I to get a vacation in while renewing our clinical laboratory technologist license education requirements - we signed up. It was also an opportunity to have the entire family along so we included our 20 and 22 year old daughters. The cruise started in Ensenada so we flew to San Diego where Carnival had a bus to take us to the Port of San Diego and then on to Ensenada. Luckily we were there early and had someone pick us up at San Diego Airport. We arrived around 9:30am.  Buses weren't going to start running from SAN > the port of SD until 11. There were over a hundred people already waiting. Our friend picked us up and took us to the Port. At the Port, Carnival gave us a 'zone' number and told us to sit until our zone was called ... probably starting around 1pm. So we walked to Seaport village, had lunch and came back. Our zone boarded a bus around 1:30pm. Carnival had lemonade, water and coffee available under the 'tent' while we waited. There were over 50 zones ... So - zone 2 is called and we board the bus. Carnival provided bottled water for the bus ride. And a security escort over the border. There is no problem crossing the border from the US > Mexico. They were really stacked up crossing from Mexico into the US. This is definitely the route to take. No delay at all. We were in Ensenada by 3:30ish. The cruise ship was there - in a special, fenced in area where no local people can come. Very secure. The bus drove us in there and we could board the ship immediately. There were also shuttles into Ensenada if you wanted to go into town - which we did not. Ensenada is not anything worth risking purses or communicable diseases to visit. Our rooms were very nice. My husband and I had an extended balcony - large bed, sofa, lots of closet room and the extra space on the balcony was worth the cost. The regular balcony's are pretty small. Our daughters had an inner room, across the elevators from us: 4C. They had two single beds and plenty of storage. The bathrooms were very similar in size. We both got towel animals on our beds each night and fresh ice throughout the day. The room stewards got to know us and they were fantastic. Excellent service and attitude. Friendly yet reserved. The food - well - since we hadn't been on a cruise in over 25 years, we didn't realize that formal meant formal, not just dressy. While ladies, you might be able to get away with pretty much any dress, my husband was not considered dressed up enough in a nice hawaiian shirt, slacks and dress shoes. He needed a jacket and tie. As such, we could never take part in the formal nights, not dine at the 'extra cost' nice restaurant. The menu in the dining room was good - not too varied but relatively above average. The grill - where we ate breakfast and lunch and many dinners or snacks - was very good. From cheeseburgers to chinese food to sushi to Indian - there was always a good variety. Lots of fruit and salads. More than enough food. Activities - incredible shows. We did not expect the quality of the dance/music shows. Truly A++++. The comedians - not so good. One comedian continually made fun of the older people and different ethnic groups. I was surprised this was allowed given the 'politically correct' era we appear to be in. While some is ok - this guy went over the top - and was really offensive and rude. Definitely not funny. Bingo, horse racing, crafts - there was always something to do.Caveat - 85% of this cruise was over 75 years old. My husband and I are 52/54. I have to be honest - I would have liked to been with more of my own age group. Many of the passengers needed help getting around and were very overweight. As such, there was virtually no participation in 'active' activities - which meant were did a lot of stuff alone.  Part of the fun of a cruise is having people share activities ... there was no one dancing - salsa or otherwise, no one doing aerobics .. maybe 10 of us walked the walking deck around the top of the ship - which was fantastic, by the way. I guess the good thing was that any port activities that involved anything more than riding a bus had plenty of openings. There were many 5 families with children under 10. A few had teenagers. This was one of the 'negatives' with cruising ... it is a very inactive vacation. At the airport I spoke with a couple who were going on a Disney cruise. That would definitely be a younger cruising population so pick your cruises carefully!All in all - I don't care for the restrictions of cruising. I want more time in port to see the area and experience the people, tours, etc. Having 6 hours to see an area that could easily take a full week - is not my idea of leisurely vacation. Tendering in was a real hassle. Waiting for embarking and disembarking - it's like being at an airport for hours and hours. Too much time was wasted standing in lines or waiting. We'll pass on any future cruises for the next 20 years - then maybe we'll try again. It's the ideal vacation for people who are limited as far as mobility or only want to shopping at different stores around the world. It you actually want to see the area, cruising is not the way to go.Feel free to contact me for any questions you have. It was definitely a positive experience and I'm glad we did it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009

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