37 Honolulu Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews

First I will break the cruise down to two sections: GOOD and NOT SO GOOD (BAD) GOOD: Our cabin was great (7246 on Verandah Deck). It seemed to be roomier than the last Princess cruise we did and we also had an extended balcony. This ... Read More
First I will break the cruise down to two sections: GOOD and NOT SO GOOD (BAD) GOOD: Our cabin was great (7246 on Verandah Deck). It seemed to be roomier than the last Princess cruise we did and we also had an extended balcony. This came about because the ship is recessed in to allow for the tender boats and when you have an extended cabin you do look down onto the tender boats, but that did not deter from the view from the balcony re looking out to sea. We spent a lot of time on our balcony, having breakfast there and in our room a number of times during the cruise. Staff was exceptional friendly and at night (every night) you had your little towel animals on the bed or hanging off the ceiling greeting you as you returned to your cabin after dinner, together with your bed turned down and chocolates on the pillows. Serenity section on Deck 9 was excellent. Some cruise ships charge for this area but there was no charge for it on Carnival Spirit. Quite a large area with its own bar, pool, sun lounges and eating tables if required. There was a rule that whilst you were in your lounge you could stay as long as you wanted but if you left you could only reserve it for 40 minutes. This was not policed very well until a few of us complained and the matter was resolved. In all it was still a quite and comfortable place to relax and have a swim - NO KIDS ALLOWED! Lobbies near the lifts were nice and wide and gave plenty of room to get in and get off even if you had a pusher or wheel chair - also the lifts seemed to very fast going both up and down. We were on the 7th floor and walked to the 9th floor Bistro but got the lift to go down to 2nd and 3rd floors where all the action and shops were. NOT SO GOOD (BAD): Having travelled on other cruise lines before we really have become accustomed to Princess ships (being Platinum cruisers) and we have compared the Spirit to Princess: The Atrium, the main focus of any cruise ship, was dull, dark and boring. The design of the atrium was shocking. The Cruise Director, in our opinion, was hopeless. He was an Aussie and always came on the air with "G'Day, what another beautiful day in Paradise" even when we were on sea days. It got a bit boring. His organisation skills were not the best, especially when it came to have the Australian Immigration people check our documents prior to arrival in Australia. There were numerous complaints to the Guest Services Desk and in turn numerous apologies from the Cruise Director as to the progress of the checking procedure. The way people were told to line up deck by deck was stupid and it left a lot of elderly people faint-hearted and quite ill. The heat in the hallways was at times unbearable. Television in the cabin was virtually non-existent. A message came up all the time that said "Due to our geographical position television stations were not available". This message was still playing after we left Suva and as we were approaching Sydney. They had to throw in some very old movies (The Castle and Strictly Ballroom) which were repeated several times over the cruise. They even put The Castle on what they called the "Big Screen" in the Versailles Lounge and called them movie nights. The screen by the way was just a little bigger than a large TV . Daily Activities - well if you liked trivia (which we do) you had something to do. But it was trivia this and trivia that with some other games thrown it to stop the boredom like arts and crafts, Bingo ($20 per game), and of course deck games. The Dining Room was very nicely decorated. We were "Anytime Dining" which we would thoroughly recommend. It allowed us to go to the early show in the main theatre or the late show. Some of the acts that were organised by the Cruise Director were pathetic compared to other ships, although there were two very good song and dance, with glamourous outfits, shows. Dress code in the Dining Room was not enforced which we thought was very bad. Even on "Dress Elegant" nights people came to dinner in t-shirts, flip-flops (thongs) and shorts. On one occasions a guy wore a bowler hat and some wore baseball caps into the restaurant (in the Fun Times newsletter it was stated that no t-shirts, thongs or shorts were accepted in the dining room at night) and these people were not spoken to. I think the staff were afraid to do anything. The singing waiters were very good and entertained us while having dinner. Food was reasonable, but on two occasions when I ordered Australian Lamb Chops and on another when it was supposed to be Prime Rib, I could not cut the meat with the knife supplied. Even when I complained about the meal and before I could say "please replace my meal" the waiter asked me if it was "tough". He apparently had had other complaints. As mentioned earlier our cabin was great but in the wardrobe there were coat hangers that defy understanding. They were a group of three hangers on one central bracket and to get to some of your clothes you had to take off 2 items to get to one - a strange set-up. Most probably put there to deter thieves. Overall, after a few problems we still had a great cruise. The ship was nice, except for the above. The crew were excellent. The facilities were great. The Buffet was the big let-down but that is another story. I'll let you find out for yourselves. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
The Carnival Spirit embarked on a once in a lifetime cruise in the fall of 2012 so that the ship could become a permanent member of Carnival Australia's fleet. The cruise started in Alaska and ultimately ended in Sydney. A number of ... Read More
The Carnival Spirit embarked on a once in a lifetime cruise in the fall of 2012 so that the ship could become a permanent member of Carnival Australia's fleet. The cruise started in Alaska and ultimately ended in Sydney. A number of passengers made the entire trip but a large part of the group boarded in Honolulu. The majority of passengers were from Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. A large contingent of Hawaiians were also on board. As American's , my wife and I enjoyed the chance to spend time with the "foreigners" and make new friends! Living up to their reputation as having a healthy appreciation for beer, the ship started to run out within three days. Cabin coolers were emptied so that the ship's bars would have stock. Soon the taps ran dry and even Australian wines dried up.Surprisingly, the ship offered a number of parties where all the drinks were free. Australian law required that no alcohol from the U.S. could remain on board once it came to Sydney. A rousing party held to celebrate crossing the equator was on the Lido Deck. The Captain, along with some of his officers, participated in the ceremony held to initiate all who had never crossed the equator by water into the ranks of "Trusty Shellbacks". Clocks were always being changed to accommodate losing an entire Wednesday as we slowly headed west until we crossed the International Dateline. The ship's naturalist provided daily programs to discuss the ocean and remark on the whales, birds, and islands we encountered. Three islands in French Polynesia and Fiji were ports of call. Those islands are certainly worthy of report, but not in this post. When we arrived in Sydney we were greeted by news helicopters, fire boats,and cheering crowds along the dock. This was truly a cruise to remember. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We cruised from Honolulu to Sydney via Tahiti. We have cruised before with RCCL and HAL and I have always wanted to do this itinerary. Three girls I worked with were keen so we all booked it along with our families. In all we were a group ... Read More
We cruised from Honolulu to Sydney via Tahiti. We have cruised before with RCCL and HAL and I have always wanted to do this itinerary. Three girls I worked with were keen so we all booked it along with our families. In all we were a group of 22 ranging from 6 years to 60 plus years. Only four of the kids were actual kids, the others were adult children in their 20s. All the parents had cruised before but only two couples had done a Carnival cruise before. A long line for embarkation but we weren't in a rush to board because once we sailed we had 5 sea days to Tahiti and I wasn't quite sure how we'd handle them, we have only had 2 in a row before. We got on board eventually and found our cabin which was fantastic. A 9B Premium Balcony, the cabin is a bit larger than normal and a square shape and the balcony was very big, with a lounger out there as well as a small table and chairs. The balcony door is very heavy, it is the first time I have wished I took a bungee cord to keep it open. This would also shut off the air conditioning which I wanted to do as the cabin and the whole ship was absolutely freezing, it was like an arctic blast when you walked into the Lido from the pool. I will summarise a bit otherwise this will go forever: - overall we had a great time, found it to be relaxed and unpretentious, a real emphasis on having fun which we liked - we enjoyed the comedy shows (lots of them) some better than others but some really great. Loved Doug Funk and another guy whose name I didn't get who performed on his own one night then I was hoping he would be on again the next night but it was the other comedian who had missed the boat the day before!Didn't love many of the shows in the main theater but have decided they just really aren't my thing - kids club great kids enjoyed it - green thunder very fun you have to try it - enjoyed Stu found him quite funny, the kids liked him and wanted to know if we'd had "a Stu" on our other cruises. If he told us to put sunscreen on one more time I was going to scream though. - Serenity deck lovely but forget getting a "pod" you had to be out there at 5am to get one I think some people never used their cabins just lived there! - ship very noisy and creaky and a lot of movement considering the calm seas we had - they restocked the library with a lot of new books after Suva with emphasis on Australian authors it was the best library I've seen at sea - drinks especially cocktails cheap by Australian standards(but that might change now it is in Australia permanently) - decor totally over the top and I did not like design of ship at all. I found it dark inside with not enough views of the ocean. I much prefer RCCL ship design - sometimes organisation not that great we stood in more lines than have on other cruises but was it was a repositioning with lots of new things happening. - food extremely good was much better than our RCCL experience on Mariner of the Seas (although I think that was possibly a particularly bad cruise in terms of food) and was very close second behind the Volendam (HAL). It way exceeded my expectations for Carnival. Red meat particularly good, desserts also, 24 hour pizza (free) was very good (new recipe someone told me), salads lovely, great noodle and asian dishes, I could go on but getting hungry! A few things deep fried that weren't great but other than that big thumbs up. - there were lines for any time dining if you went straight after a show eg 7:30 was busy but other times not - service for anytime dining was hot and cold, sometimes great sometimes very slow. I think I would actually try set dining next time - 3 pool set up works well always somewhere to lie around pool even though weather great - gym good helped offset overeating! We had perfect weather the whole time so the sea days flew reading around the pool and relaxing. It was a great decision doing it this cruise with friends as it was nice to meet up with them and that helped stop the sea days feeling like groundhog day. We heard a lot of people complaining about a lot of things on this cruise but we met a lot of people having a great time too. Overall we had a lovely time: perfect weather, good friends, amazing ports, great food, and what wasn't perfect was not worth wrecking a great holiday worrying about! We did Patrick's Maohi Nui lagoon tour with lunch in Bora Bora - best day ever if you are ever in Bora Bora do this tour. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
I had never cruised with Carnival America before. It took quite a long time to board this ship, lots of elderly passengers having to wait in long lines to board the ship. I'm not used to having to give up my passport to a cruise ... Read More
I had never cruised with Carnival America before. It took quite a long time to board this ship, lots of elderly passengers having to wait in long lines to board the ship. I'm not used to having to give up my passport to a cruise company until we were ready to get off the ship,but I got over it in the end:) Our cabin on deck 1 was the biggest that I have stayed in so far for an inside cabin, the cabin steward was nice, but forgetful. Food was nice, chopsticks in the buffet on Lido deck 9 was the most popular place to choose food from, the queues always went around the corner. The buffet was one of the worst set out ones that I have come across on a ship, it was too spread out in different directions, the elderly passengers would of not liked it. The food was quite spicy, but tasty. I really loved the free specialty coffee machines on the ship, they were on deck 9 and had, flat white, cappuccino and beautiful hot chocolate in them. If you wanted supper after the show, you would be sadly disappointed with the choices available, no cake or cookies. I was a little disappointed with the shows on the ship, comedians, hypnotists are not what I would call entertaining for an evening show, the vocalists who were flown in for the cruise were entertaining, especially Patrick McMahon, he was very good. Sometimes there was only one show and it would not start until 10pm. The spirit band and dancers were fantastic. The captain was a lovely man and I looked forward to listening to his updates at 12 noon each day. The big screen movie screen was a pull down projector screen in one of the downstairs lounges, some of the movies were very old and they showed them at least twice, other passengers who boarded the ship in Vancouver told us that they saw the same movies and they repeated them too. The old movies were the castle, strictly ballroom and Ned Kelly.There were not many children on the ship during our cruise, we were told that they only had 30 on the ship, most children were well behaved. The self serve laundries were very small, $3 a wash and dry and $1 for soap powder, you do not need coins as you need to swipe your set sail pass to use the machines. The casino was always busy, it opened at 7 AM on sea days, at night it was very busy and smelly from cigarette smoke:( The shops were the usual, jewelry, clothing, sweets, carnival keep sakes, duty free alcohols and cigarettes. The photo people were always around wanting to take photos as they are on all ships. The Internet was the slowest that I have ever used on a ship, I had my iPad and iPhone with me, I purchased a 2 hour plan that cost $89, it was go very quickly. I never played bingo on board, other passengers said that it was too expensive to play $20 a card for 2 games and it always started at least 25 minutes late , they also had nighttime bingo as well, all bingo was played in the main show theatre. The ship is quite elegant, I loved the glass lifts in the atrium, the busiest decks were deck 2, this has the casino, theatre, main bar, passenger services desk, shore tours, puzzle area, Empire dinning room too. Deck 9 had the buffet, pool and stage, deck 10 was the sun lounge deck. Our cabin stewardess was nice, she was forgetful though, we had organized a copy of our passports to be delivered to our cabin on the morning of our first shore tour, by 8.45 it had still not arrived so we contact guest services. They said that all passport copies were given out by our stewards by 8 am, so we went back to our cabin and tried to locate the stewardess, we found her and she had a few in her pocket in envelopes, she said that she had no idea what was in the envelopes. The cabin safe is huge enough to fit in a handbag and an iPad, you need to use your credit card or American drivers license to lock and open it, it's annoying that only one person can open and close it. We did not think that Stu made a good cruise director, his off sider the assistant cruise director was very entertaining, polite and so friendly, but Stu was the cruise director, he made a lot of announcements during the cruise, we were tired of hearing his voice by the end of the cruise. They have machines on the ship that you can use to manage and check on your set sail account, you can also use the tv in your cabin to check on your purchases, book shore tours and check menus. The TV in the cabin was not useful as a TV as such as a lot of the time there was no signal so we could not get any news from home:( The weather was fantastic while we were away, seas were also calm too:) The ports were pretty, tendering was not good, even though the Spirit had never been to these ports before, there should of been more research and training done on the tender process, an elderly passenger fell over because the tender boat rope was not secured to the dock close enough, another elderly passenger was frightened and had to sit down on a bench near the tender boat before they could board their tour as they were very shaken up. I witness another elderly passenger fall on one of our tours that was meant to be an easy walking tour, we had to climb up high onto some uneven stone steps to see a waterfall and she fell while climbing the steps, there were a lot of elderly passengers on shore tours. The prettiest port was Bora Bora, highlights of Bora Bora in the blue open air buses is an interesting tour to do and the hand made sarongs are so pretty and only $10 to buy, there is a video on You tube, just type in Tahitian Sarong making into the you tube website and you will see our lady tour guide in the video. The soda package was ok if you drink a lot of soda, I think that princess has the best ever non alcoholic drinks package by far. The dinning room was rather entertaining, especially with the singing waiter, he was FANTASTIC, service was slow if you did not drink alcohol, which we didn't, I ordered a coke and waited 20 minutes for it to arrive, we noticed that it you ordered alcohol it came to your table promptly. We will sail again in the future on the Spirit, it will be interesting to read her Australian reviews:) I hope that the Carnival Spirit enjoys her new home here in Australia. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Boarding in Honolulu was chaos,the staff did not seem to have any experience,luggage did not arrive at cabin till 1 hour after sailing [even though we were at the port 5 hours before sailing].The cruise director [Stu],had the personality ... Read More
Boarding in Honolulu was chaos,the staff did not seem to have any experience,luggage did not arrive at cabin till 1 hour after sailing [even though we were at the port 5 hours before sailing].The cruise director [Stu],had the personality of a squashed snail [a nice guy,but not suited to the task]At each port there were lengthy delays going ashore [the excuse was always,we have not been here before [one would have thought they would have done some homework].It wore a bit thin when it took over 3 hours to get the tender operation going in Moorea,they should have known how to organise the tender system from previous ports. The decor of the ship is depressingly dark,they allowed smoking in the casino [which is a large area] & there was a lack of things to do onboard.The library area also doubled as the internet cafe,which was not good for computer users. Most of the entertainment was 2nd rate,the price of wine was very expensive for cheap Chilean wine.The Empire room service was very slow & the buffet on level nine was so so [although they were slow clearing tables & the tables could do with a decent clean]. They ran out of all sorts of food & liquor,not what I would have considered a well organised cruise.Of all the American,Aussie & NZ passengers we spoke to on board,they all agreed on one thing,it was the worst cruise they had ever been on. On the plus side the cabin was a good size & cabin stewards were very good & the ship has plenty of working lifts.It was so bad a cruise that I would have to say it could only get better in the future [I hope for future passengers] Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We've sailed on Princess, Rhapsody and some P&O cruises so I'm comparing the ship to them. Overall I wouldn't sail with Carnival again as they don't compete. We had 3 kids 16, 13,11. There always some good points ... Read More
We've sailed on Princess, Rhapsody and some P&O cruises so I'm comparing the ship to them. Overall I wouldn't sail with Carnival again as they don't compete. We had 3 kids 16, 13,11. There always some good points and bad so I will explain on each. An exhaustive embarkation about one and half hrs. The cabins were good and quite large. The cabin and restaurant staff good. Food in the restaurant good. The buffet food was just OK but the area was a ludicrous design. 8 buffet counters serving different types of food each with its own queue. So then everyone is wondering around each counter trying to find food they liked and then search for a spare table to eat cold food. The night time shows are good but the daily activities are non-existent, catering for the elderly over 70s, bridge and dance classes or American trivia. My kids mainly sat in their rooms. The movies, all 2 of them, The Castle and Ballroom Dancing too old and replayed over and over. We could have loaned them DVDs from home to show on TV or the cinema. We heard some performers missed flights and gained others, we had 2 hypnotists. The staff had no enthusiasm and wanted to cut game activities short to get back to their chores at doing nothing. Stu the cruise director is just as lame. We spoke to lot of passengers saying the same thing. No need to pay for shore excursions, just hire a taxi to show you around the sights, a lot cheaper and they know what everyone wants to see. No chance of getting a pod (private lounge) on deck as the pod people reserved them all day and night. They slept them over night.They should have a time limit as it would have been nice to try one, for even 10 min. The 2 slides are ok for the first 10 rides but there was only 3 of us using it and we still had to wait for each to have their turn. Would hate to see if the ship had more kids than the 50 that was on our cruise. The design of the ship is dated, not a large atrium with no real atmosphere, also around the pool area. A lot better now with ships having a large screen on deck. Last to mention was the running out of the popular beers after the first 3 days, a lot of unhappy Aussies. This ship better pick up its act to compete with the rest of the world. I suspect they dont care as I feel they think the Aussies dont know any different. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Hi Cruisers! Up until cruising with Carnival, John and myself had only cruised with P@O. We had cruised around Australia and also to the South Pacific Islands - Isle of Pines, Lefou, Mare, Noumea and Fiji. It was a friend of ours, Stacey, ... Read More
Hi Cruisers! Up until cruising with Carnival, John and myself had only cruised with P@O. We had cruised around Australia and also to the South Pacific Islands - Isle of Pines, Lefou, Mare, Noumea and Fiji. It was a friend of ours, Stacey, a seasoned cruiser, who incidentally, we met on the Pacific Dawn, who suggested that we all go on the Carnival Spirit Repositioning Cruise from Honolulu.  To sail on this ship would actually be an historic occasion so to speak, as this would be the first Carnival ship to make it's home In Australian waters! We had to give it some thought as the airfare To Hawaii was expensive, being that it was so far away from Australia, but after talking Stacey into sharing a quad cabin with John and I and John's friend Ken, we were good to go! Before we began the Cruise we spent 8 nights in Hawaii which was also a truly wonderful experience but that's another story!... When we boarded the Spirit, we fixed up reception detail and then headed through the maze of corridors. ....yes, we found our cabin, with the usual curtain at the end of the room pretending there was a window behind it (fooling no one), plus 2 bunk beds either side, shower, drawers, bar fridge, all the comforts of an interior windowless cabin which is totally fine for sleeping and showering! After all, it all happens outside the cabin (for most of us).! The bonus was, we were on Deck 8, which meant we had plenty of exercise, but not too much, as we only had to run up 4 flights of stairs to Deck 12 for the buffet breakfast, and down 4 flights of stairs where we went dancing in the Cool Club to the brilliant sou d of the Hi Luxe Band, ballroom dancing lessons with Less and Ivy, Doug with his guitar and raunchy voice in the casino, karaoke down a further flight of stairs and of course the brilliant shows every night I the show lounge! The hilight of dining on the Spirit was the formal dining room, where we loved having the waiters sing and dance for us, plus we always joined in, a fantastic experience missing on P@O! We also met an incredible waiter whom I will never forget, Earle from Jamaica and his accomplice Rade from Macedonia! We made friends with all the waiting staff abd the Hi Luxe Band! Funnily enough the cruise director, Stu, was an Aussie, although most of the entertainment staff were American! The staff were mainly from Asia and Eastern Europe and it was so interesting chatting with them in the dining rooms and around the ship! On the deck I loved dancing to the music played in the afternoon where the DJ usually put on the Cupid Shuffle, an American favourite which quickly became mine! Singing Over the Rainbow on stage with the band was fun too! Needless to say we made many American friends who I still chat to on Facebook from time to time. When we all first met, I don't think that they knew how to take us Aussies, what with our loudness and humour, but by the end of the cruise we were firm friends! For this is what Cruising is all about!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our cruise on the carnival Spirit was great, it took awhile to figure if we liked the design , very unusual,but it grew on us, the food was probably the best we have had to date,the staff were wonderful,and the entertainment was ... Read More
Our cruise on the carnival Spirit was great, it took awhile to figure if we liked the design , very unusual,but it grew on us, the food was probably the best we have had to date,the staff were wonderful,and the entertainment was superb.Boarding the boat was horrendous, it would seem they had no idea, like wise the dining arrangements completely disorganised the first meal had a cue stretching way back into the ship, this lasted for a few days and finally got sorted.Like most ships little effort was put into the cleanliness of the Passengers, thou there were many dispenser's of disinfectant little was done to encourage people to actually use them, unlike the following cruise we picked up in Vancouver The Norwegian Perl, there were staff waiting @ all the Dinning rooms spraying peoples hands no one entered with out the spray, wonderful to see,but then the food was very ordinary on the NCL pearl, cant have it always I suppose.When you firs board the ship, you almost expect Harrison ford to leap over the top balcony dressed in the garb of Raiders of the lost Ark, as I said at the start very strange decor.After the cruise up to Alaska we flew down to Long beach to pick up the carnival Splendor to Mexico, once again , the cleanliness left a lot to be desired ,this time the food was the opposite lousy many people got food poisoning as did My wife and I, so we missed the chance of getting of the ship ,and spent most of the time in our cabin.the Turbs The Carnival splendor we were told will cease visiting Mexico and next year will be repositioning down here to Australia, I just hope for there sake that they pick there game up when they do,What is in there favor , is the , Staff all very nice the Atmosphere after the evening meal when each night they would dance and sing right around restaurant, and the cabin steward also need a mention, such lovely hard working people, Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We just arrived home to Vancouver from Hawaii yesterday, and wanted to get this off while things are fresh in the mind. There was a foreshadow of this cruise not going smoothly when we never had our cabin number confirmed until we arrived ... Read More
We just arrived home to Vancouver from Hawaii yesterday, and wanted to get this off while things are fresh in the mind. There was a foreshadow of this cruise not going smoothly when we never had our cabin number confirmed until we arrived at the dock in Honolulu, where we lined up up for far too long in the heat we were not used to yet, to board the ship. Then, when we entered the dockside boarding shed, we began the ritual, which was the same at every port, of going thru three ID processing and shakedown processes. One to enter the dock or shed; another in the shed, similar to boarding an aircraft to check for forbidden items like weapons, and forgive us all, booze; then once more to board the ship, where illegal contraband was confiscated, mostly wine and spirits. This three time ID check was at every port, sometimes taking half an hour, and discouraged us from going ashore again in the afternoon. The process of confiscating wine and spirits really irked a lot of fellow passengers, who like us, had stuck a bottle in our bags for "in cabin" happy hours. This policy is stated by the other cruise lines, however was never enforced in past cruises. I have thought of challenging this rule, arguing that a hotel cannot stop a guest from taking a bottle in to their room as it is their temporary home, so should a cruise ship be. Nonetheless, we were caught, as were many others, one man who said he refused to buy a drink on board, and his usual bar bill was around $1,200 even with having a bottle in his cabin. Carnival was over anal with this policy. It is hard to believe that Holland America is part of this company. The differences are so obvious if one has travelled on both lines, or on others. The ship decor in some public areas like the Atrium, Pharoh's Lounge, and the Jungle Zone, is over the top, even ridiculous could be used to describe it. Cabins, restaurants, casino, library, gymnasium, public bars were very nice; and the food was very good, although waits in the dining room were sometimes long and dishes would arrive cooled off.Their scheduling was not on time, or published incorrectly. First evidence was the life boat drill, or Safety Lecture, which was scheduled for 1700 on the daily report; many of us were at our stations at 1700, without life jackets as advised, but it did not begin until 1730, and they had to drag the ship to get everyone to their stations. On previous cruises, life jackets were mandatory, and crisply uniformed staff inspected every individual to make sure it was worn correctly. The young man supervising our station could have been a passenger, no uniform at all, just a casual checkered shirt, might have been a seaman. For other scheduled functions, eg. a mini golf tournament for 1500 one day, no ship's staff showed up to organize it; poor form, showed their stuff. We enjoyed our time on board, this review is to show what we felt are differences between this experience and previous experience. There did not seem to be the joi de vive between the crew of other lines; spills, papers, and empty tins and bottle would sit too long before being picked up; the tenders/lifeboats seemed to be worse for wear; they needed a second gangway to reboard the ship more quickly.The purpose of this review is not to rip Carnival, only to point out out that they lack some of the niceties of other companies. Most things were great, but they need to take some lessons and refine themselves. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My fiance and I did the Honolulu to Vancouver cruise on the Carnival Spirit April 2011. This was my second cruise and his first cruise.We flew into Honolulu a couple days early and stayed at the Ohana Waikiki West for 2 nights prior to ... Read More
My fiance and I did the Honolulu to Vancouver cruise on the Carnival Spirit April 2011. This was my second cruise and his first cruise.We flew into Honolulu a couple days early and stayed at the Ohana Waikiki West for 2 nights prior to boarding the Spirit on April 22/11. We had the distinction of being on the 18th floor with an ocean view, however, the elevator only goes to the 17th floor and the room was very small and quite tired looking. But for the price we paid and the fact we were only there a couple nights it wasn't a big deal, plus hey you have to sacrifice something for the ocean view :o)Boarding of the ship flowed very well and we were onboard in no time and out luggage arrived very quickly also, only a couple of hours.The size of the ship was nice as it was very easy to find your way around. It was very clean and tidy.Food was excellent, wasn't overly impressed with the deli but it wasn't bad just not quite what I'd anticipated I guess after reading others rave reviews, but then everyone has different tastes. The fruit at breakfast was always great especially the pink grapefruit and the salad at lunch was marvelous as well. We did our time dining and only had to wait twice and then only for 20 mins max, and they usually seated us in the same sort of area for most of the cruise so we had the same wait staff most of the time. We also did one of the special order Non-vegetarian Indian Meals in the MDR and it was excellent. I also now have to go on a 12 step program for the chocolate melting cake habit I picked up while on board! lol.Our room stewart Conrado, was absolutely marvelous. Once he realized we liked to have a fair bit of ice in our room it was pretty much never out during the rest of the trip. He was always very pleasant and quick to smile and greet you in the halls and did a great job on our room.Our one complaint was the entertaintment. Cruise director Stu reminded us of a used car salesman and he never once came over the PA or stepped up to the mic without trying to flog you something. The cruise I had been on previously had so much to do you wanted to be in 3 places at once. That definitely didn't happen on this cruise, and considering you have 5 whole days at sea one would anticipate there lots planned to do..... There was Bingo twice a day or more, which you pay for, there was the Casino, which you pay for, there was trivia but on the days at sea it's progressive so if you aren't aware of that at the start and you go on the second day...you're kinda outta luck. They played a game show type thing a couple evenings which was entertaining. They had karaoke of course, and ballroom dancing lessons, a "talent show" and a couple shows with their dancers and singers, who were quite good. There were a few stand up comedians and 2 juggler/comedians. There just didn't seem to be much going on during the days. The "Fun Ship" was a bit lacking in the fun department. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
this was my first cruise ever , my fiance has also posted a review on here but i thought i would submit one from my point of view as well as i feel compelled to do so based on the experience i had . the pros : fast boarding ,decent food , ... Read More
this was my first cruise ever , my fiance has also posted a review on here but i thought i would submit one from my point of view as well as i feel compelled to do so based on the experience i had . the pros : fast boarding ,decent food , superb service from our cabin steward conrado (it's been a very long time since i had excellent service with a smile). hawaii and our time spent off the ship was spectacular. that's really about it. the cons : where do i begin ? others have mentioned the poor entertainment , i would consider this to be an understatement , it was beyond brutal .daytime events consisted of such things as a hairy chest contest , trivia, afternoon tea and bingo if you wanted to pay . night entertainment was equally brutal with bad comics and bad musicians and a talent show starring the passengers .the average age of the passengers had to be 75 and you could tell, it was like being stuck in an old folks home for two weeks . the best act by far was Eddie Miles who did a magnificent tribute to Elvis. Carnival however can not be credited with booking such Talent as Mr. Miles was on a cruise like the rest of us with his fan club and thankfully shared his Talent with all of us giving me what would be the only decent hour of entertainment i had for the entire cruise . the cruise director Stu was brutal , i sincerly got the impression that his only mission for the trip was to soak us for what ever he could .he couldn't make one announcement with out trying to flog everything from steaks to watches to seaweed wraps . even after the ship had docked in vancouver during the disembarking announcment he was busy trying to flog pictures to the people whose numbers hadn't been called yet instead of at the door to thank the passengers and see us off , he left that to someone else .they don't allow outside liquor which is fine . if your not going to allow liquor though don't soak the customer 8.75 a drink . we bought two one litre bottles from carnival when we booked and it cost us over 80 dollars . in closing my final thoughts are that as a first time cruiser , i wasn't impressed overall . i get two weeks off a year and could not see myself doing this again .we payed a nice chunk of change for this trip and it doesn't deliver value for what you pay, it doesn't even pay for the entitlement to bring a couple bottles of rum on with you when you embark . it basically gets you a spot on the ship where they have you trapped into selling you all the extras . it's really a shame because this is a really nice ship with a good crew the short comings of the cruise director and his constant sales pitches really put a damper on this for me Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Firstly I thought I had submitted my review but on reflection I forgot as we were away for so long it just slipped my mind. But nevertheless here goes. We arrived in Honolulu from Australia (there was a large contingent of Aussies on ... Read More
Firstly I thought I had submitted my review but on reflection I forgot as we were away for so long it just slipped my mind. But nevertheless here goes. We arrived in Honolulu from Australia (there was a large contingent of Aussies on this cruise due to the packaging of Fire and Ice cruise land deal). After 10 hour flight we were tired and the wait in the hot sun was tiring and the usual check in etc was not as bad as we have previously experienced with Princess. So overall we were jolly by the time we climbed onboard and found our rooms. Rooms : We had a balcony ... the only way to travel. The room had heaps of room our suitcases fitted well under the HUGE King size bed and we loved the balcony freedom. This came in handy throughout the cruise for private viewings of comings and goings from ports. To watch Vancouver wake as you sail up to dock was the most fabulous sight ever. Those snow kissed peaks and twinkling lights were magic and breathtaking. Going under the bridge we held our breath as it is quite a big ship after all. Also the balcony was great just for fresh air whenever you wanted it. We are fresh air freaks .. so this was mandatory. The steward (a girl whose name I cannot remember now) she was fabulous ... all our quirky requests were met with instant service and the towel arrangements every night on the bed were events we looked forward to as we closed down for the night. Dining : We had a preset table for the late sitting. This was perfect for us as we could come back from excursions as late as we liked and sit at the table well into the night without them chasing us out for next service. If you want to sit over your brandy and chat take the late sitting. Our waiters were outstanding .. O'Dane and Christopher made it their special aim to remember our favourite meals ... reminding us when specialist desserts would be on and just anticipating our ever whim with pleasure and a smile which made dining all the more memorable. The food was good to excellent ... if you didn't like it .. it was replaced. Entertainment : the shows were OK (not as good as Princess) but we still enjoyed them. The Elvis show on board was terrific. Stu was an Aussie and most non-Aussies did not really understand his humour .. but we liked him. He had a hard job pleasing everyone. Excursions : We opted to not do any excursions on this particular cruise as we had experience in Hawaii before and we hired a car on the Big Island and the Garden Island drove to the volcanoes and toured around and basically did our own thing here. Good decision. It was easily accessed to hire car depot in all instances. Spa : On the ship I availed myself of the spa services for beauty treatments ... although a bit expensive I revelled in the results. Also whenever I saw a spa staff member anywhere else on the ship they always greeted me by name .. nice touch. The Ship: Over all the ship looked a bit dated decor wise the cherubs were a bit overwhelming on the roof at times. The hallway to our cabin a bit garish but we ignored this most of the time as we quite enjoyed the ship inside. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
The Carnival Spirit Hawaii cruise was our favorite of all time! Wonderful ship, crew, & ports. Embarkation was long but we did get to the terminal after 2pm so it was quite crowded. It didn't matter since by 3:30 we were eating ... Read More
The Carnival Spirit Hawaii cruise was our favorite of all time! Wonderful ship, crew, & ports. Embarkation was long but we did get to the terminal after 2pm so it was quite crowded. It didn't matter since by 3:30 we were eating and drinking on the Lido deck. I never encountered a crew member either in the Lido, dining room, or walking the hallways or deck that didn't say "good morning" or "how are you?". Entertainment was enjoyable (this is a cruise ship, not Vegas or Hollywood folks) and I do agree Stu, the cruise director, could be irritating but then he was only doing his job!We had 2 nights of complimentary drinks that we took advantage of. We ate dinner in the dining room most nights, food was delicious, and had fun waiters that took care of all our needs. Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch on sea days and we could always find something tasty to eat. Desserts are the best on Carnival!!The Spirit is a beautiful ship that we've had the pleasure to sail twice. I wouldn't hesitate to book another since I love the decor and lay out, very easy to navigate. Debarkation at Canada Place was a breeze with a short trip home from Vancouver BC to Seattle. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Our 12 day cruise started in Honolulu, toured the Hawaiian islands for 7 days, 5 days at sea and ended in Ensenada, Mexico. We had cruised often before but not for 12 years, we had retired young and moved to Mexico so always seemed to be ... Read More
Our 12 day cruise started in Honolulu, toured the Hawaiian islands for 7 days, 5 days at sea and ended in Ensenada, Mexico. We had cruised often before but not for 12 years, we had retired young and moved to Mexico so always seemed to be on holidays. Anyway after 10 years we decided to take a one month holiday, 2 weeks touring islands in Hawaii and end with this 12 day cruise on the Carnival ship called the Spirit. I can assure you we were both very excited about this trip and did a lot of planning for it. Unfortunately with the fond memories we had of past cruises, including Carnival, we automatically assumed the cruise would be fantastic. That was not the case and I honestly hope Carnival reads this. I have always admired how cruise lines can get their passengers aboard and into their cabins as fast as they do and on this ship it was the same, quick and efficient. Once aboard we went touring the ship to get a feel for our next 12 day surroundings, sadly that was when we began to wonder about our choice. The Spirit at some point may have been wonderful but today the ship seemed dated and incredibly gaudy, the best description I can come up with is Caesars Palace gone plastic. It was a bit sad since we had decided in advance to use all 5 star hotels which had been fabulous and now this, oops. Now to be fair we did have a fantastic room on the Spirit, we had a stateroom with a balcony which had plenty of room for all our things. The only negative was the totally old and out of date TV. The person we all see and hear from the most on any cruise would be the cruise director and always in the past I have found this person to be the individual who can truly make the cruise more fun and exciting with the planned events. I am sure everyone would agree this person and these events become so much more important when there are 5 sea days. Well on our cruise the events were almost non existent and very uninspiring and to us it seemed the cruise director had become this constant person on a loudspeaker trying to sell us drink specials, shore excursions, spa treatments, store merchandise, upgraded restaurant, bingo, photo's, etc. On previous trips we had always enjoyed the galley tour, well now there is a price for this, a high price with limited people. In general we would say the food was a high lite, there were so many great tasting meals and deserts. We would also add that on at least 3 nights the selections were very limited and not to our liking. We enjoyed the fact there was a 5 bottle special where we could buy wine and have it with our meal each night, this seemed so out of character for Carnival. Food on the Lido deck was as usual plentiful buffet style and was a great place for lunch and breakfast. It is impossible to complain about this part of the service and it was obvious many people enjoyed this area a lot. The food high lite had to be the visit to their steak house. Sadly it also was an additional expense for the quality of food they used to serve 12 years ago. However since Carnival is so determined to get more of our money this is an area that must be visited. Part of my fond memories of past cruises was the nightly entertainment which to me in those days seemed to rival the best Las Vegas shows and I can still remember laughing so hard it hurt when some of the comedians entertained us. Its not the same any more and even trying not to sound negative I have to say the singing and dancing was entertaining but amateur and the comedians weak. One comedian gave the same jokes 2 nights in a row. You have to give Carnival credit for one thing though, they found a way for us to supply the entertainment for them which eliminates their expense. Carnival uses the passengers as entertainment, one night karaoke and the other a passenger talent show. WOW that night we got to watch 3 amateurs, one danced, one sang and one related poetry to us. If you are a person who likes to stay in shape or even plan to do a little exercise while on this trip be warned. The gym is free but the gym equipment is super old and worn out. Of 8 treadmills they had 4 were broken and out of service. The staff in this gym were invisible so it was hard to get music or TV while trying to work out. Being used to newer equipment we have at home and in the other 5 star resorts we never thought of bringing an Ipod as the newer machines have built in TVs. On the commercial Carnival shows for this ship they too show newer model gym equipment. it is impossible not to notice how much effort is put into trying to get us to spend more money while on board the Carnival Spirit, the attempts come way too often. So with that in mind we have to mention the cost of using the Internet which is so out of line and computer users should be aware of. Its 75 cents a minute or a special with 250 minutes for $100 which then translates to 25 cents a minute. The service is satellite and there fore so slow this time will used up super fast. If Motel 6 or Starbucks can offer free Internet so can Carnival. The staff is something that is easy to forget when writing a review so I wanted to make sure to mention them. We found almost everyone on our trip both on board and on the Hawaiian islands to be super friendly and helpful. I think constant sun must make people happier. Our cabin staff were great, the waiters and hostess's great, the front desk staff exceptional. Weak were the cruise director, his staff and the gym personel. We did meet many people on board who loved Carnival, who loved the ship and had been on many Carnival ships and had plans for even more with the same cruise line. We saw people attend the future cruise meetings to plan more. So we know this is just our opinion and not every ones but in our opinion ONLY this cruise company is not for us and strongly suggest Carnival update their ship called The (Lost) Spirit. We also suggest Carnival uses their own slogan and tries to put the FUN back into these trips. Next year we plan to cruise again, next time in the Mediterranean and with more port stops but for sure with a different cruise line. Next time we will use websites like this to plan better. Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We are a married couple in our sixties living in Orange County, CA. Even though we are not retired yet it was our third vacation this year. We had also a Princess cruise in January and a resort stay in Mexico in May of this year. It was ... Read More
We are a married couple in our sixties living in Orange County, CA. Even though we are not retired yet it was our third vacation this year. We had also a Princess cruise in January and a resort stay in Mexico in May of this year. It was our fourteenth cruise, fifth cruise on Carnival, and the third one on Spirit. We booked this cruise well in advance - in February. First, I do research on cruise.com, then talk to my local agent. Then pick the best offer. In the Internet Cruise.com seems like the best place to look for cruises, to compare them, etc. And their prices are good too. But sometimes my agent beats them. We drove to San Diego a day before departure and stayed at Sheraton Airport and Marina hotel. Had a nice room and a nice dinner there. I hated the idea to drive to San Diego at night. Our flight San Diego-Honolulu was departing at 6:15 AM. With all those latest security requirements you have to be at the airport around 4:00 AM, which, practically, would mean no sleep for me that night. That's why we opted for the hotel. This way we were not as exhausted next day after our flight, as during our previous Hawaiian cruise, even though we had to change planes in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, you seldom get a direct flight when booking air trough a cruise line; they usually go for the cheapest option. Carnival picked us up at the Honolulu airport (we paid for that at booking time) and since our flighty was late we made it to Honolulu cruise terminal at about 3:00pm. There were no lines at this time, so we boarded in a few minutes. Most of the time was spent to fill in a medical declaration where you had to swear that you did not have running nose, did not cough or puked lately. I wonder, how many people answered those questions honestly, given a possibility that Carnival might refuse boarding to you if you said you did. Fortunately, there was no question about farting, not sure that I would tell the truth about that. While doing my cruise research I saw totally different opinions on Carnival Spirit about almost every aspect of cruises. Some loved the food, some hated it. Some found the ship worn out - some liked its appearance a lot, etc. Let me share my views with you. Last time I sailed Spirit was in 2005. Since then it was definitely renovated and looked very satisfactory to me. Not a single problem on this issue. We booked a 9A-class - extended balcony cabin with obstructed view. It was more like a mini-suite on Sapphire Princess with exception of a bathtub. Large sitting area, spacious balcony and all that. Even the view was not that obstructed at all. Plenty of cabinets for two of us. Slightly more expensive than a regular balcony cabin but well worth of every penny. Cheaper than unobstructed view though. Our room was nicely decorated; electrical fixtures were definitely replaced since our last Spirit cruise. No problems with our beds: pillows, mattresses, linen, blankets were very good. The rest of the ship looked also quite good. Just out of curiosity, I tried to find worn out carpets and scratched elevator panels mentioned in some reviews - but I failed! Or, maybe, we just have different standards with those folks. Ship's crew and services - this issue is also discussed widely in all reviews. In my humble opinion, Spirit looks very good at this account. Captain Volpi is a real Master of the Ship, not to mention that he is fun to be around. He leads his people very well without even using many words sometimes. Just waved his hand - and they knew what he means, that was my observation. His daily radio addresses were very useful and informative and, at the same time, made me laugh every time I heard them. Cruise director Stu, without doubt, is a very talented guy. The way he staged Passenger Talent Show clearly convinced me in that. Actually, every his appearance was fun to see and to listen; we really liked him and even his Australian accent. Our cabin stuart Natasha was good and very accommodating. Our waiter Sugita seemed a bit inexperienced but noticeably tried very hard, so we did not paid much attention to his small mistakes. As far as Entertainment is concerned, Spirit was a Fun Ship indeed. Production shows was all new and directed and performed very well. Everybody in the band, dancers, and singers were very good. Guest shows also were of a good quality. Comedy shows were of very good taste, which is not always the case on cruise ships. No bad vulgarities or stupid jokes about ship toilets. A hypnotist and a ventriloquist were also good and funny. Some evenings we attended three different shows in a row - isn't it fun? There were singers and musicians performing at different bars. When we had nothing special in mind we just stayed in some bar to listen to them, they were good to any taste: Polynesian, country, classic fortepiano, you name it. The only problem in this area was their movie shows. Projectors in Pharaoh Theater and karaoke lounge performed badly - there was no real color to all movies, not just some. The same movies shown on ship TV were OK, so it was purely a projector's problems. We also enjoyed Karaoke lounge. Not singers ourselves, we saw plenty of good ones there and not that many bad ones. We only attended one lecture by ship's naturalist - that one was very good. A few words about Dining. We used the Empire Room restaurant for all our dinners but one. Once we had dinner in Lido Buffet when we were late from our shore tour. Cooks in the restaurant seemed to have problems with cooking beef and duck. Except for one occasion they were well below our expectations. And believe me, we are not that picky. Lamb, pork seafood, and vegetarian main courses were very good, no complains there. Also soups, appetizers, and deserts were good, even excellent in some occasions. In the buffet, where we went for all breakfasts and lunches, the choice was quite sufficient and food quality very good. I tried to look for those stale items I read in reviews, but was unable to find them, sorry guys. I was not always satisfied with buffet coffee brewed in large pots, but I must admit that coffee was much better than in Celebrity buffets, which I tried lately. Well, I have to tell you, I am a coffee freak. Fortunately, there was a small espresso bar right in the buffet, which served me perfectly. They charge for their espressos, but no more than Starbucks, so I was happy. The only thing that went missing in the buffet since our last cruise was waiters offering wine, which we did not see any more. But well, bars were right there - around the corner if you badly need a drink. In the restaurant wine list was slightly less than during our last cruises on Celebrity but still sufficient enough. Being thrifty customers, we always ordered our wine by bottle. After dinner they store it for you to finish next time. It's cheaper than to order by glass.I have say, their sushi bar was good, better thanany of my cruise ships. It was not a great choice there, just three items for eash particular night. But it was never repeated next day and all tasted very good and fresh. I can't give any valuable information about our ports of call. We have been to Hawaii many times before so we did not care much to explore them. We only took two tours: Kona city tour in Big Island, which included a visit a very nice Botanical garden, and a Kaanapali Beach Break in Maui. The reason for the first tour was the fact that during our previous Hawaiian cruise we did not went ashore at Kona at all. And for the second one - I can't even explain the reason. Apparently, Kaanapali Beach has some sentimental value for us; we just got attached to it during our numerous stays there. So I am even afraid to recommend that to anybody, who does not have to like it there. But we do! Both tours were booked through Carnival in advance. I know it's not the cheapest way to go. But I like to be taken care of and, besides, I don't have to save for any college funds anymore. Well, let me think what else we enjoyed or did not like onboard. I definitely enjoyed a gym and a steam room afterwards. Computers in the library were handy to check my e-mail from time to time. I saw complains that this is too expensive, but, well, if I ever go broke - definitely not for this particular reason. I did not like Spirit's sauna - too cold to me. Debarkation took a bit longer than we expected. It was promised to start at 5:00 AM, so we got up quite early. But were called ashore at about 9:00. Could have slept much longer. Then we boarder bus, which took us to San Diego airport for free. The bus was escorted by Mexican State Police so we had no chance to observe any trouble on our way. In San Diego we picked our car and drove home, it was nice and easy. I have to praise Carnival for that final leg of our trip. There were Carnival's repesentatives everywhere: in Tijuana, in bordercrossing and in San diego Airport to make sure that everything goes smootly. We liked our recent Spirit experience and won't hesitate to repeat it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Our only other Carnival cruise was 15 years ago, a 4 day to the Bahamas. Decided to "jump ship" from Royal Caribbean because of price and itinerary. We got 2 more days and one more port for abour $1000 less per person. ... Read More
Our only other Carnival cruise was 15 years ago, a 4 day to the Bahamas. Decided to "jump ship" from Royal Caribbean because of price and itinerary. We got 2 more days and one more port for abour $1000 less per person. Didn't know for sure if we would regret it or not. No regrets! The ship is smaller that what we are used to, and the decor seemed dark, but I quickly got used to it. Preferred it to the neon you see on some other Carnival ships. Embarkation was a breeze once we got past the long line outside the terminal where we had to schlep our own luggage along for about a half an hour. Didn't like that. Our cabin was clean and spacious with an extended balcony. The cabin smelled fresh, no odor of leftover smoke. There was the occasional smell of food being prepared ( We were under the La Playa buffet...no noise, though). We had numerous maintenance issues that were resolved by contacting our excellent steward, Michael, or guest services. Our A/C was not working the first night and one lamp was stuck on "on" On our first sea day night, we were awakened by a horrible smoke smell that was coming through the A/C vents in the middle of the night. It was contained to our deck(8) and the aft of the ship. After a fair amount of apprehension among ourselves and our neighbors, it was finally explained that no, there was no fire, and yes, the situation was under control. We were told that the garbage incinerator vent had become plugged and it backed up into the A/C system. I was concerned about the smoking issue, having been warned that Carnival attracts smokers because of their more lenient policies. I HATE smoke and am very sensitive to it. Other than the casino, which stunk worse than any ship casino I've been in, there were no problems. They REALLY should try to do something about the ventilation in there. There were some down times, though, when it wasn't too bad, so we could play and DH and I managed to walk out in the plus column for a change! The one thing I thought was sub-par was the food. We are not "foodies" by any means, but do have a certain expectation of cruise ship food. My biggest complaint is that the food was frequently cold, both in the main dining room and at the buffet. Our waiter, while friendly and hard working, seemed inexperienced. On many ships, you barely have to think about what you might need and it magically appears. Not here. Extra requests were always greeted with a positive attitude, but sometimes never happened. Like the extra scoop of stuffing that showed up with my dessert..... Loved the 24 hour ice cream and the 3pm banana splits on the Fantail Deck on sea days! Also loved the deli's reuben sandwiches! Entertainment was really fun, loved the Cruise Director Stu and the Ass't Cruise director Weezie. They had a morning show on TV that was really a hoot....so dorky you had to love it....think of Regis and Kelly in Mayberry. You could call in to win prizes...I think hardly anyone was watching because we came home with a picture frame, an under water camera, and a Carnival terry robe. The production shows were really good, the comedians were pretty good, and the show band was one of the best we've ever cruised with. Truly outstanding. We don't really pay much attention to the show band...they're kind of just "there", but they were really great. On board dance band "High Rise" was also really good..played a wide range of music and the lounge was non=smoking. Perfect! Internet was very slow, but what do you expect out in the middle of the Pacific. Used my Blackberry in ports so I don't know how it was then. Debarkation in Vancouver was super easy. MUCH more relaxing and easy than anything I have experienced on Royal. We could stay in our cabin until 9am, then we left and hung out in the buffet until they called us around 9:30. We were off the ship in no time, and luggage was very easy to find. Customs was a breeze and we were walking around checking out Vancouver by 10:30am. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Hawaii - Carnival Spirit - April 23-May 5, 2010 Overall, this was a wonderful cruise on the Spirit. This was my 8th cruise and the fourth time on a Carnival ship (second time on the Spirit). I was travelling "solo", however, it ... Read More
Hawaii - Carnival Spirit - April 23-May 5, 2010 Overall, this was a wonderful cruise on the Spirit. This was my 8th cruise and the fourth time on a Carnival ship (second time on the Spirit). I was travelling "solo", however, it was nice to meet many wonderful people (a number of whom were Cruise Critic members). THE SHIP: The Spirit was a large ship, but smaller than many of the new ships afloat. It was built in 2000 (and refurbished in 2009) and was in very good condition. My inside stateroom (Category 1A) was on the Riviera Deck, room 1255. It was close to the stern elevators and on the 1st deck. The room was quite large (approx. 185 sq. ft.) with a very comfortable bed (two twin beds pushed together) with lovely linens, etc. There was plenty of closet and storage space and even if there had been two people in the cabin, there would have been lots of closet space. The bathroom was a decent size (no tub; just a shower) with lots of room to put away toiletries, etc. The towels were plush and the bathrobe was very comfortable. There was a desk/vanity and chair, a tv and a refrigerator. All in all, it was a very comfortable room. The sound proofing was very good and I rarely heard my neighbours. The cabin was close to the galley and elevators, but I never heard any noise. As well, I didn't hear any noise from the lounge above me. This was one of the quietest cabins I've ever been in. The dEcor of the ship was a bit loud, but overall, was fine. The decorator used a "deco" theme for much of the ship and this was reflected in the colour choices, stained glass lamps everywhere, lots of mirrors/windows, and dark wood. There was a large atrium in the center of the ship that went all the way from the 2nd deck to 10th deck. At the top of the ship was a sports area and the entrance to the water slide. On deck 10 there was a walking/jogging track area circled the entire ship (3.5 laps/mile). It was nice to be able to walk on a longer track and it was quite wide, so it never felt crowed. Below that was the Lido deck that contained the Gym and the Spa. The gym was located at the very front of the ship and had plenty of windows and had two levels. The gym had lots of modern equipment and it was always busy. Next to the gym was a sauna and steam room. I never used the spa facilities nor the hair salon, however, it always seemed busy (especially on "formal night" days). There were 3 pools on the Lido deck and a number of large hot tubs. The pool at mid-ship had a roof over it, so it was a bit warmer. The roof was open in Hawaii and partially closed on sea days during the crossing to Vancouver. The surrounding decks had lots of deck chairs set out, and they were usually busy until the weather got cold. Inside the Lido Deck was the Buffet (La Playa Grille) area. There were stations on each side of the ship including hot meals, salad bar, a deli area and an oriental stir fry area, a pizzeria and a grille to get hamburgers, etc. Although it was always busy, I never had a problem finding a place to sit. Outside the Lido Buffet at the very back of the ship was another outdoor pool and an area with deck chairs, tables/chairs, etc. And there were soft serve ice cream or yogurt stations located in various spots on the Lido deck. The Panorama, Veranda, Empress and Upper Decks all contain only passenger cabins. On the Main Deck (4th deck) was where to find the upper level of the Pharaoh's Palace Lounge (the show lounge) and the Arcade. On the Atlantic deck (3rd deck) were the shops, the library/internet area, chapel, the photo area and various bars/lounges and the mezzanine level of the Pharaoh's Palace Lounge. The shops were typical and, for the most part, fairly expensive. There was an outside promenade area on each side of the ship for walking, etc., but the two sides were not completely connected, so that meant you couldn't walk a circuit under a bit of cover. The Casino was located on the Promenade deck (2nd deck) and was fairly large and always busy. Unfortunately they allow smoking in the Casino, so it was unpleasant to be in there. On this deck there were a number of different bars and lounges and a disco and karaoke area, etc. Also on this deck was the front office, shore excursions office, Guest Services Desk, etc. The atrium area on the Promenade Deck was always very busy and there was a nice bar area for drinks before dinner. The main level of the Pharaoh's Palace Lounge (where the daily bingo and other games, lectures, and evening shows took place) was large and was very comfortable. The sight lines, sound system, lighting, etc. were all fine, with just a few seats blocked by pillars. At the back of the ship on the 2nd and 3rd decks was the Empire Restaurant (the main dining room). It was well lit, well laid out, etc. I was sitting at a table for 2 on the lower level of the Restaurant (6:00 pm; early seating). The table was always beautifully set with nice linens, crystal, china, silver, etc. There was an infirmary that was very well equipped and prepared for pretty much any type of emergency. Overall, the ship was easy to navigate and there were lots of elevators and staircases and wide hallways, etc. Therefore, it never felt overly crowded. For the able-bodied, the ship was great. For those with mobility issues, there seemed to be good access to all the public spaces, with room for wheelchairs, walkers, etc. There were some bottleneck area near the elevators in the atrium, and also near the entrances to the dining room. Unlike many newer ships, on the Spirit you can walk from one end to the other without coming to deadends, etc. The galley is located under the main dining room at the rear of the ship and there is only one dining room. THE PASSENGERS: Typical of a repositioning Hawaii cruise in April/May, there were very few children on board and the age range of the adults was across the board. There were 20 year old newlyweds to very elderly seniors. About three-quarters of the passengers were from the United States and about one-quarter from Canada, Australia and elsewhere. I think there were about 2,100 passengers on board. Overall, I found the people on board to be friendly and kind. This was the most casual cruise I've been on and also one of the shortest. All the passengers seemed to really enjoy themselves and I rarely heard any of the whining and complaining so prevalent on other cruises. CREW and CUISINE and ENTERTAINMENT: I found all the crew members I dealt with to be friendly and professional. The front office staff were always very helpful. The dining room staff were terrific and overall my dining experience was great. The bar/lounge staff were very good. The cruise director (Stuart Dunn) and his staff were fun and energetic. Like previous Carnival cruises, the crew were from all over the world. I thought the food on board the ship was very good. Every evening I got to try new things, or have items I haven't thought to cook in years. The presentation was good and the food was usually hot when it arrived at the table. I found the portion sizes to be smaller, but that's a good thing! The food in the Lido was also very good and I enjoyed all the variety of foods. I ate some of my breakfasts in the Empire Restaurant and all of my lunches in the Lido Buffet. I went to about half of the shows in the Pharaoh's Lounge. The staff singers and dancers were very good and the show band was excellent. PRE-CRUISE AND EMBARKATION: I flew to Honolulu a couple of days before the start of the cruise. I stayed at the Best Western Coconut Hotel in Waikiki. It was very nice, clean and modern. It is located along the canal, so it is about 4 blocks from the beach. The price was reasonable (included a good breakfast) and I would highly recommend the hotel. I took the Roberts shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel and then had the shuttle pick me up and bring me to the pier on the day of embarkation. The round trip fare was $15. I booked a full day tour of Oahu Island (through Discover Hawaii Tours) that was very good and reasonably priced. They picked up and dropped off at the Mariott Courtyard Hotel (1 block from where I stayed), so it was very convenient. The tour itself was fun, the guide informative, and I got to see parts of the island that I really wanted to visit. The rest of my time in Honolulu was spent touring on my own (walking tours, etc.). The Spirit was docked at the terminal at Aloha Towers. I arrived at the pier around 1 pm and waited in a very slow moving line out in the hot sun for 1 hour before entering the terminal building. Once inside, embarkation was similar to what I've experienced in the past at other ports. I had entered all my information online before hand, and it took about 10 minutes to clear security and then check in. PORTS and SHORE EXCURSIONS: For this cruise I decided to book my shore excursions through Carnival. I had researched private tours, but in the end the itineraries and prices for the Carnival tours were similar or better. I met numerous people on board who had booked private tours or who had rented cars in the various ports. I think for a couple or a group of people, that is the way to go. More economical, more freedom, etc. Travelling solo sometimes has its challenges, and booking private tours is one of them. Nawiliwili, Kauai We arrived at around 7 am and the weather was warm and raining. It did clear up as the day went on. I suspect that is typical for Kauai. The shore excursion was called "Aloha Kauai Adventure". This was a 7.5 hour tour in a 12-passenger 4-wheel drive van. We travelled all over the island along back roads, through the forests, and along the cliffsides, and to Waimea Canyon (which was beautiful). A box lunch was included. It was a very good tour, with an excellent guide. Some of the off-road driving was very rough - this is not a tour for people prone to motion sickness. Kona, Big Island Kona is a tender port. We arrived in port at around 7:30 am and the tender boats started to run at about 8:30 am. The town is small and very touristy with lots of shops and restaurants along the shoreline. The shore excursion was called "Kona Living History Museum". This was a 4.5 hour tour by bus through the countryside above Kealakekua Bay to the "living museum". We spent time touring the original home at the coffee farm, saw how coffee was grown and harvested, etc. and had an opportunity to taste the fruits of the harvest. We also went to the original general store to learn about life in the 1890s. This living museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian and was very good. The scenery along the coast was spectacular and the time at the farm was very interesting. Hilo, Big Island We arrived at around 7 am. The shore excursion was called "Mauna Kea Summit Tour". It was a 7 hour bus tour through the countryside to the peak of Mauna Kea. Along the way we saw lava fields, smoking volcanoes on the other side of the island and a bit of the countryside. The time at the volcano was so very interesting. The tour company provided jackets, as the temperature was quite cool and it was very windy once we started to gain elevation. A box lunch was also provided while we were stopped at the visitor center. We stopped at 9,000 ft. for 30 minutes to acclimatize and then went to the summit for about 45 minutes. The air was pretty thin and there was oxygen available for those who needed it. We were able to go inside Kerk #1 Observatory to see the large telescope. The views from the summit were incredible. On the way back to the ship we stopped to see Akaka Falls and some of the beaches. This was a tour that I would highly recommend. Kahului, Maui We arrived in port at around 7 am. We had 2 full days in port, which was a real treat. The town was about half to one mile from the pier with lots of shopping. On the first day I did a shore excursion called "Wonders of Haleakala". This was a 4.5 hour bus tour through the countryside to Haleakala - the world's largest dormant volcano. It was very interesting. We had time to wander around on our own at the volcano taking in the sights. The elevation is quite high, and some guests were having difficulty breathing and keeping up with the others. As well, the wind was very strong. You definitely need a jacket or sweater on this tour. That evening I booked a luau through Carnival. It was quite expensive, but great fun. I'm not likely to go to another luau, and so was fine with paying the hefty price for a once in a lifetime experience. It was held at the Hyatt Hotel in Ka'anaplai. On day two I did a shore excursion called "Heavenly Hana". This was a 9.5 hours small bus tour along the seaside, through the forests inland and eventually ending up at the old town of Hana. It was a very long, but very interesting tour and the scenery was spectacular. A lovely lunch was served at Hana Ranch. The afternoon was spent on the road along the south and east side of the island. Again, the scenery was wonderful. After 7 days of intensive touring (plus 2 days pre-cruise), it was great to have 5 days at sea as we sailed to Vancouver. The weather was windy and cool. Four out of the five days the upper decks and the promenade on Deck 3 were closed because of the strong winds. There were numerous activities planned throughout the day and also lots of time to just sit around and relax. There was a naturalist on board who gave lectures each sea day. We saw some dolphins near Hawaii and a few whales during the crossing. DISEMBARKATION: Disembarkation was very smooth. The first people off the ship (self-assist) left around 7:30 am. Once off the ship, we had to clear customs which took about 5 minutes and there was no line-up for a taxi home. It was so hard to say good-bye to the ship...I certainly wasn't prepared to leave. FINAL COMMENT: This was probably the most relaxed I've been on a cruise ship. The atmosphere was very casual and the passengers friendly. Not having to travel by air after the cruise was a big bonus for me. I realize that I've only seen a very small portion of Hawaii, and I'm looking forward to returning in the future for a land-based vacation. However, for a first visit to the islands, cruising was a great way to experience the culture and sights of the different islands. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This cruise allows you to see all of the major Hawaiian islands, which was the selling point for us for our honeymoon, and did not dissapoint. The islands are amazing. We left Philadelphia at 7:30 AM on April 17, 2010 and had a 6 hour ... Read More
This cruise allows you to see all of the major Hawaiian islands, which was the selling point for us for our honeymoon, and did not dissapoint. The islands are amazing. We left Philadelphia at 7:30 AM on April 17, 2010 and had a 6 hour flight to Seattle...a layover in Seattle...and then another 6 hour flight to Honolulu. Very long day of traveling was worth it. We started our vacation with 5 full days in Oahu before the start of the cruise. We are so happy that we did this, this was our favorite part of our entire trip. Oahu is amazing! It has so much more to offer than just Honolulu and Waikiki. I feel bad for the people who only flew into Oahu on 4/23 and only had the 2 ship days for Oahu. From 4/17 to 4/21 we stayed in a condo on the windward side of Oahu (the "country" side) that I found on vrbo.com. The condo was newly remodeled, with a wraparound balcony, full kitchen, bedroom, and RIGHT on a beach so secluded that we felt like it was our own! View of the ocean, beach and moutains. By far the most amazing view I have ever had on a vacation. SO different from the hussle and bussle of Waikiki. What we did while on this side--Kualoa Ranch Hummer tour to see Lost and movie filming locations. Amazing! So beautiful and scenic. Worth doing even if you are not a Lost fan (we aren't). Surf lesson on North Shore (hubby lost his ring for 3 hours in the Ocean but he didn't give up and we found it! True Story!), a lot of fun. Dinner at Ola at Turtle Bay resort, where Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed. Great food. A lot of just hanging out and relaxing at the condo and the beach that was there. We had a rental car and used one of our windward days to do the Pearl Harbor Home of the Brave tour (they weren't open the days we were staying on Honolulu side). Home of the Brave was a long day, but totally worth it. Got to see a lot of WWII sites, not just Pearl Harbor. On the 21st we checked out of our condo and went to stay in Waikiki for 2 nights at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Had an amazing view of the beach and Diamondhead. We wanted to experience both sides of the island. Waikiki is totally different in every way from windward and north shore. But we enjoyed it. Ate at Duke's and Yardhouse (both great) and went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (awesome!). We loved our 5 days in Oahu before our cruise! On the 23rd we left the Hilton and went to the Aloha Tower cruise ship pier. About a 10 minute taxi ride (but avoid taxis in Hawaii if you can! very expensive and some of the cabbies will rip you off by keeping you in the car for a long time on purpose). Embarkation was EASY. Very organized and moved quickly. They even let us on early (got there before 1pm). We were on the ship in 30 minutes at most. Aloha Tower is a very nice pier (some of the other Hawaii piers look more industrialized and aren't as nice). Now I knew going in that we would be some of the only younger people on the ship, but I was even surprised that it seemed about 85% of the cruise were over 60 years old. I don't have a problem with older people—I love them! But by the end of the cruise we were wishing for some younger companions, and more activities geared toward our age group. We are in our mid 20s and it was very hard meeting people our own age. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The Spirit overall is a nice ship. It always appeared clean and I didn't think it was falling apart (some other reviews have said this). It didn't seem dated to me (just the TVs!). We never had long waits getting on or off the ship, even when tendered. We had an aft extended balcony stateroom. The balcony was a nice size, and so was our room. I thought the bed was comfy, and the bathroom was a decent size. It looks like some child had scribbled on the couch in our room (or that is what it seemed like), the seat had pen scribble on it. That was kind of annoying. You would think Carnival would clean it up, replace the cushion. Oh well. The TV in the rooms are dated. They really should be upgrading to widescreen flat screens. The picture and sound quality was poor. We had better picture and sound quality on the mini-screens on our flights. Rented a movie off the TV for $8 and it wasn't worth it because of the quality of the TV. Channel selection was OK but not great. Overall, aside from the pen mess and the TV, we were pleased with our room. The cleaning staff was nice, and did a good job of taking care of our room (and of course the towel animals were great!). If anything, they were a little over eager to clean. We had to always have the Privacy sign outside our door whenever we were there, for fear that they would barge in (happened a couple of times early on in the cruise). DINING- Lido deck food was average. Some of it was pretty good, some of it wasn't very good. The pizza was horrible! We love 24 hour pizza and ice cream, but the pizza was never good..seemed like it was always under cooked. The Empire dining room was our favorite part of the entire cruise. We really looked forward to dinner each night. We did the Your Time dining, which was great...got to go to dinner whenever we wanted, had a different table each night, and didn't have to sit with strangers. Got to sit just the 2 of us, perfect for our honeymoon. Food was generally always very good. Servers and hosts were friendly and good at their jobs. We did the $30 a person Steakhouse one night and didn't think it was that great. We had better steak in the regular dining room. And the Steakhouse tried to be way too fancy in its presentation, kind of pretentious...I mean come on—it's Carnival...the Funships! Be fun! If I wanted a snobby cruise I wouldn't be on a Carnival ship! Steakhouse not worth it in my opinion—go to the regular dining room! We had different servers each night, but Martina was our favorite...she suspected it was our honeymoon (correct!) and brought us cake with candles and sang Happy Honeymoon to us! Common areas - Lots of lounges and places to relax. All kinds of different dEcor. Some of it was a bit too loud for my taste, but it's a cruise ship, what do you expect. Dancin' club was awesome. I like dance clubs and this one was great. Too bad it was empty most nights. We did have one fun night there. Pharoh's Palace, where the shows were, was nice. Internet in the library was slow most of the time. But the library was cozy. Casino was a fun time. Entertainment & Activities - this is where the age thing comes into play. We are sure that if we were over 50 we would have had an awesome time on this ship. Most of the activities in the Fun Times seemed to be geared toward the older crowd. We did see a few shows (just OK —the Carnival dancers are good) and played Bingo. One night later on in the cruise, at the first formal night, we finally managed to meet a few couples our own age and hung out with them in the dance club that night. That was a good time. DJ was great. Our 5 days at sea seemed like forever and by the end of the cruise we couldn't wait to go home. It would have been cool if Carnival had a social meet and greet for honeymooners or 20/30 somethings so that we could meet some more people our age. I understand that they are going to gear the cruise activities more for the older crowd since that is the majority, but we were kind of bored. We did a 4 night Bahama Carnival cruise a few years ago and had a blast on that ship. This was a bit dissapointing compared to that. HAWAII PORTS OF CALL We did not do any of the organized Carnival excursions. Most of them were too expensive, if you compare the price you pay for making your own arrangements. I also like the freedom of not being on an organized tour. Arranged our own days for Kauai, Hilo, and the first day in Maui. In hindsight, it would have been worth it to book an excursion in Kona, and maybe the 2nd day in Maui. HONOLULU - The 2nd day on the cruise, we were still in Honolulu, so we decided to do the historic walking tour on our own time. Saw Iolani Palace, and the other sites in the area. Nice day. When the Spirit left the Aloha Tower pier, got some amazing pictures of Honolulu and Waikiki, and Diamondhead. KAUAI - 3rd day of cruise. I booked with Wings Over Kauai Airplane tours. It is a small family run business, and my husband and I were able to go up in our own charter, just the 2 of us and the pilot, in a 4 passenger plane. And it was way cheaper than a helicopter tour! They even provided transportation to and from the airport, and took our picture and gave us a DVD of our tour. Kauai is so beautiful. We got to see a lot of parts of the island that are not accessable by car, including the Napali coastline. Truly breathtaking. I have unbelieveable pictures. Worth every penny. Wish we had more time to spend in Kauai. One day not enough! KONA - 4th day of cruise. We didn't plan anything for Kona, and I wish we had. We left the ship (which was tendered—but this was not a problem and the tendering process was well organized) and decided to just see where the day took us. Kona is like a cute little beach town. Had fun walking around and took a trolley ride down the coast. Pleasant day, but I feel like we should have done more with it. HILO - 5th day of cruise. Planned a full day in Hilo! We rented a car (which I planned in advance) and drove to Akaka Falls, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Rainforest Zoo, and the Black Sand Beach. A full day...we left around 9 and got back on the ship around 5. Everything we saw was beautiful! Decided to skip Volcano since my research said it takes an entire day to get the most out of the park, and I'm not all that interested that I wanted to use our entire day for it. If we are ever back on the Big Island, we'll check it out. MAUI, day 1. 6th day of cruise. Rented a car and drove to Lahaina Town. We had tickets for Old Lahaina Luau and went early to check out historic Lahaina. Loved it! Wish that the ship had docked on this side. Great day! Luau was great! We loved it! Everyone should do a luau in Hawaii. I almost cried at sunset because it was our last real night in the islands. MAUI, day 2. 7th day of cruise. We took a taxi to the nearest beach, which ended up costing us as much as a rental would have cost. Wish I had done another rental this day and went back to a beach in Lahaina. Or even maybe done some kind of whale watching excursion. I think we will be back to Maui because I feel like there is a lot that we would like to do there. 2 days not enough! The last 5 days of the cruise seemed very long. The ship rocked around a lot and sleeping was difficult sometimes. I don't get seasick ever but was sick one entire morning and afternoon. I'm not sure if it was something I ate or the ship rocking. My husband did not get sick, just me. As stated above, we loved the food in the dining room. Enjoyed relaxing, but 5 days at sea when the weather is cold outside and rainy was not fun. We were ready to come home. Loved the islands and the first 7 nights. 12 days just too long for us, with not enough people our age. In the future, we will stick to 7 night cruises. Side note...Vancouver was a sight compared to Hawaii! Beautiful in a whole new way...like Honolulu, only the mountains have snow on them! Kind of interesting to start off a cruise in Honolulu and end up in Vancouver. Disembarking was easy. We booked airport transfers through Carnival and were the 3rd or 4th zone called to get off the ship. Very organized and ran smoothly. Made it to the airport in plenty of time for our noon flight. Overall....it was a good cruise. We did have a good time. I think cruises are what you make of them, and maybe we could have tried harder to be more involved in the various things going on in the ship, but a lot of it didn't appeal to us. We like to hang by the pool, do activities during the day, and party at night and the weather and age range wasn't the best atmosphere for that. Of course I knew it would get colder on the way to Vancouver, but sea day #2 it was already freezing outside! I still love Carnival and cruising, just will not do such a long one in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Embarkation was a breeze, taking less than 20 min. to get through security, receive our room card, and up to the Lido deck for lunch! We had arrived in Honolulu 3 days prior, and stayed at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber, a newly ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze, taking less than 20 min. to get through security, receive our room card, and up to the Lido deck for lunch! We had arrived in Honolulu 3 days prior, and stayed at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber, a newly renovated hotel located above Macy's Dept Store. The room was cheery, comfortable and reasonably priced ($129 per night) considering it's location on Kalakaua Ave. across the street from the beach. We had purchased a Hawaii Entertainment book, and used the coupons for eats, which can be a bit pricey in Waikiki. Also there is a 25% off coupon for 2 different luaus, and well worth the price of the book. Now for the Spirit! An absolutely beautiful ship. I thought it was very tastefully done with beautiful artwork and sculpturing at every turn. It is showing a little wear, but not so as to be distracting or unalluring, and is scheduled to go in for refurbishment in 2009. But it is kept up immaculately by a hard working crew who are always polishing & cleaning. Our room attendants were wonderful and kept up our cabins to perfection. They were attentive but unobtrusive. We had a handicapped cabin on deck 8, and Carnival has thought of everything. From grab bars everywhere, to a doorbell with flashing lights for the hearing impaired, to peepholes in our cabin door at 2 different heights to accommodate wheelchair passengers, to alarm bells (which when activated gets an immediate call from the pursers desk/I know because my husband set them off several times accidentally during our 12 day cruise) There is also a television channel with printed telephone messages/also for the hearing impaired. There were ramps provided to access our balcony. Fortunately, my husband was able to step over the approx. 4 inch threshold. Dining: I'm not a picky eater, therefore I thought the food was very, very good, both in the main dining room and up on the Lido deck. There were offerings which were not particularly appealing to me (lamb, for instance) but that was a matter of personal preference. I only had one steak which I found to be a little on the tough side, but the wait staff were always there making sure everything was perfect, or they would replace it immediately. The fillet mignon was wonderful, as was the prime rib and lobster tail. All in all I found the selections to be quite appealing and adequate. We opted for breakfast and lunch (most days) up on the Lido deck, and Freddie our omelet maker, also made my morning complete with his ready smile and cheerful bantering! There were several separate stations with a variety of food, which kept the lines moving quite rapidly and there was never a long wait. Only complaint: cold toast! The pizza and ice cream, as well as the deli stations (wonderful piled high corned beef Rubens!) were open 24/7 for your convenience, and the hot chocolate is the very best that I have ever had. There was a station for your typical American fare, one for chinese/Asian food, as well as the Taste of Nations station which offered foods from different countries every day. (i.e., Mexican, French, etc.) And there was the ever-present dessert bar, yum! Shore excursions: The only fly in the ointment lies in the fact that the Spirit does not have direct access to the tender deck. Of course the only place where we had to tender was on the Kona side of the big island. The Spirit is the first ship that I've sailed on where they didn't have an elevator that took you directly down to the tender deck. It took 3 men to get my husband down the approx. 6 steps in order for him to get into the tender. He had no problem getting down the one or two steps into the actual tender, but just getting down to the deck was very, very hard on him. (as well as the other handicapped passengers) A serious flaw in an otherwise wonderful ship. We booked the Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour directly with the company, as it was quite a bit cheaper than with the cruiseline. Plus, Carnival charges you 2 full fares if you weigh in over 250 lbs, then when you get back to the ship, they refund you back half of the 2nd fare. However, when you book directly through the helicopter service, they merely distribute the weight and usually don't charge you the extra. But it does really depend on the weights of the other passengers. If there are a lot of big people, even the helicopter company may charge an additional fee. We also did the Kona and Hilo historical tours, as well as the Heavenly Hana tours directly through the ship, as the costs were comparable to some of the independent tour companies. All were very good and highly informative with excellent tour guides. None of the tour buses were handicapped accessible, and I blame Carnival for not checking into this for their physically challenged passengers. HAL, RCCL and Princess cruiselines all furnish buses that are handicapped accessible. Entertainment: Kudos to the Carnival singers and dancers for their wonderful performances. The scenery is beautiful and the costumes magnificent! We also enjoyed the comedians, though opted out of the late night risque venue. One of my favorites is the passenger talent show. I'm glad that I sat in the back, as I tend to giggle over performances given by some of the wannabees! But I give much credit to these people who have nerve enough to give their very best in front of more than a thousand people. I could never do it! All in all the cruise was a wonderful experience! Cons: the only kink was the final day when we docked in Ensenada, MX. The debarkation went smoothly until a lady refused to give up the front seat on the bus which was reserved for my handicapped husband, which necessitated us moving to a different bus with our party of 7. However, our luggage was loaded onto the first bus. The 2 hour ride to the Tijuana border went smoothly, then came to a sudden halt. We waited for approx. 2 hrs to cross the border, and some of the buses ahead of us had the people leave the bus to walk across the border, ridiculous. The border inspector finally boarded our bus, checked our picture I.D.s as well as our passports, and let us cross. Of course we were 2 hrs late arriving at the airport, where we found out that the bus with our luggage had broken down somewhere in Tijuana (along with the lady who refused to give up her seat-God is good!) Because my husband was in a wheelchair, they rushed us through customs and onto our waiting plane, which they actually had to hold up for us. There were a lot of empty seats on an otherwise fully booked plane, and it was because of that entire busload of people who had stalled somewhere in Mexico. This was on Saturday, and we didn't get our luggage until the following Tuesday. Plus, we had to go to the airport to pick up 16 pieces of luggage (7 people), as Carnival didn't have it brought to our homes! Ridiculous! Would I do the cruise again? You bet! But I would do it in reverse, as there is no wait at the border for those traveling into Mexico. Or perhaps from or to Vancouver. You just can't beat Carnival's prices or service! I know that the outdated "Jone's Act" requires a foreign flagged ship to stop in at least one foreign port (thus Ensenada) but what I don't understand is why they bus you to or from San Diego down to Ensenada, when the ship is sailing empty to meet you there. It just doesn't make any sense at all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Third cruise in two years, 2nd on Carnival. Embarkation was a breeze unlike last two cruises. Luggage was at cabin when finished with lunch on Lido deck. Food was average at buffet entire cruise, not quite hot enough. Cabin was on deck ... Read More
Third cruise in two years, 2nd on Carnival. Embarkation was a breeze unlike last two cruises. Luggage was at cabin when finished with lunch on Lido deck. Food was average at buffet entire cruise, not quite hot enough. Cabin was on deck 6, a balcony cabin with sufficient room and clean. Steward was very attentive to freshening cabin and also personable. Entertainment was adequate in theater with Carnival dancers and the "legends show. Shore excursions were overpriced,especially Luau at Hyatt Regency on Maui. $300.00 for two. Dining in Empire room was hit and miss. The service was outstanding but the quality and choice of food were dismal. I believe we have been spoiled by quality of the food on the Pride. If I were to choose a repositioning cruise again it would not include 5 long days at sea. Disembarkation was a nightmare, buses to transport passengers from Ensenada to San Diego sat for an unusually long time before departing and the wait at the Mexican border was unusually long. Our luggage was not on the bus we were on and when we arrived at airport we had to wait 1/2 hour for the bus to arrive with our luggage on it. Nobody from Carnival was insight at airport to coordinate this fiasco. One couple lost a bag and was late for their flight. I would sail on Carnival again but probably not on the Spirit. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We were a party of 7 spread through 3 cabins. 2 with balconies, 1 inside cabin (it was the tiniest of any of the 5 cruiselines we have been on -- though it was well-organized and kept neat by our stewards). We flew straight to HNL and ... Read More
We were a party of 7 spread through 3 cabins. 2 with balconies, 1 inside cabin (it was the tiniest of any of the 5 cruiselines we have been on -- though it was well-organized and kept neat by our stewards). We flew straight to HNL and arranged for our own transfer to the embarkation area. Which entrance to use? No signs or markings on various entranceways -- tried asking a surly Carnival-attired employee who was too busy making a cellphone call. A more friendly one saw our predicament and pointed us to the correct one. Approaching the counter, I present our Funpasses (which I had painstakingly completed on-line. The 1st time I attempted to do the Funpass on-line, Carnival had a problem with their website -- not that the website noted anything, I had to phone Carnival to be told "There's a problem right now, try later". I did not find the Carnival website to be very user-friendly and I am very computer-literate! Because I was also entering info for 3 different cabins and 2 different return itineraries, all on one credit card for onboard charges, it was a fairly lengthy process. Especially irritating was that the website kept adding on it's own an extra totally fictional flight onto our return itinerary. I found it impossible to change/correct after many numerous tries. Another Carnival Website glitch no doubt! Back to embarkation, proudly handing over our Funpasses -- the Carnival employee asks for hard copies of our documents to handwrite the same details again onto some paper forms. I am incredulous and ask why she is duplicating all this info. She replies that the computer people want to confirm that the electronic Funpass details are correct. On the other hand, debarkation in Vancouver was very smooth and well-organized. Dining: Breakfast buffets had the most limited choices of all cruiselines we have traveled on. Why the sausages are always immersed in some mysterious soupy concoction is a mystery to me. Lunch buffets were Ok, but the Asian line-up was abysmal -- like the worst takeout food you could find in the mall food court. Dinners in the dining room were generally fair, though as others have noted, 2 portions of the same dish at the same table could vary enormously from wonderful to horrid. Fish dishes we had tended to be dry and overcooked. Often there were slight-to-major substitutions from the menu which the waiters never noted. Since we have had almost back-to-back sailings on Princess, Holland America and Celebrity, we may be more jaded about dining aboard, but Carnival definitely had the least impressive food. I did not gain any weight on this cruise -- a 1st for me! Gym facilities: Different stepped arrangement. Much of the aerobic equipment: bikes, elliptical, treadmills needed maintenance -- displays wouldn't come on, heartbeat monitors didn't work, bikes and elliptical would grind loudly. The gym instructors, Monique and Alex were the most unfriendly gym staff I've encountered onboard. Both have sour dispositions, especially Alex. Rumor had it that either he or both of them were at the end of their contracts -- hopefully NOT to be renewed. Public Spa facilities: steamroom, sauna, hottub, changeroom and showers were very nicely done and roomy. Entertainment: Ok, not really to my taste. All the Carnival singers and dancers were left to the last 4 days. Chris the cruise director was a standout as far as being a entertainment ham. The Ship: Lots of public space, open decks for sunning or walking, outdoor casual dining areas, great atrium. Lots of shipboard activities (I appreciated the handicrafts for my 80-yr old mother). Elevators are very quick and announce the next floor -- well organized so there was little waiting time for them. Some stairwells were strangely narrow and did not have the best signage (I like to clearly see the floor and Aft/Forward directions). Service: Our waiters were OK. I thought it was tacky to have tipping the Maitre'd made a public plea. As stated earlier, our cabin was kept neat and clean. We had a team of 3 stewards (we really prefer just having a single steward who we get to know better and takes responsibility for everything.) Phonemail never worked (something that would have been helpful when you're trying to coordinate activities for 3 cabins. A single phone request to Steward was never picked up and did not go to his phonemail. Summation: We chose this Carnival cruise because it fit in with the kid's school schedules and we wanted to see Hawaii. We had crossed off Norwegian C.L. sailings after reading about staffing problems on the Hawaiian circuit and also didn't consider any of the cruises that required busing through Ensenada Mexico. Would we consider Carnival again? Possibly, if the itinerary/price was right. Carnival Spirit? Probably not -- there are too many better choices out there. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was our second cruise, and our second with Carnival. When choosing to cruise again after our Mexican Riviera cruise in Jan 07, I did not consciously pick Carnival, they had the itinerary I was looking for. We wanted a longer than 7 ... Read More
This was our second cruise, and our second with Carnival. When choosing to cruise again after our Mexican Riviera cruise in Jan 07, I did not consciously pick Carnival, they had the itinerary I was looking for. We wanted a longer than 7 night cruise this time around, so we chose the 12 day Hawaii cruise back to Vancouver, perfect for us as we live in British Columbia. We flew from Vancouver to Hawaii one day ahead of departure. I did not book a hotel for the first night, just thought we'd wing it when we got to the airport, big mistake...make sure you book your room! We did find a hotel that would pick us up at the airport and take us to the hotel, but it was old and the bed was very uncomfortable. Only 1 night, thank goodness. We hung around the hotel pool until check-out time then took a taxi to the Pier for our 1 pm departure. Departure was quite smooth, quicker and easier than the Mexican Riviera on Carnival Pride departure. I am assuming because there was an overnight stay in Honolulu, the embark was ongoing for most of the day, so less people lining up right at 1 pm. So after our smooth embark, we found or cabin, dropped off our bags and headed up to the lido so find lunch and look around. The Spirit and the Pride are the same ship so finding our way around this time was easy. I did not make any shore excursion bookings ahead of time because I like to check mood and weather before I spend the money so we booked a Pearl Harbor and Punch Bowl tour for the next day in Honolulu. So the first afternoon we wandered around the Aloha Marketplace then back to the ship for the evening. Again our entire cruise was filled with wonderfully good food, our wait staff and room stewards were the best, remembering what you like and don't like and greeting you by name and with a smile everyday. We did the tour of Pearl Harbor (wonderful historical tour) and the tour of the city and punchbowl. The weather was great for the whole of our island tours. We spent much more time poolside and on deck this cruise, the Mexican cruise was chilly so there was more time spent inside than outside. We sailed on to Kuaia where we had booked a Snorkel Tour. Great fun, great companions and the tour operators were fantastic. There was a little rain at the start of the day in Kuaia but it ended up to be an OK day. The sail aways are always fun and we enjoyed them again this trip. The fourth and fifth days were spent on the big island. First port was Kona, we did not book a shore excursion, just took the tender in and spent the day wandering around shopping and taking some pictures. Again a nice day. The next day in Hilo we booked the Volcano and Lava Tubes tour. It was chiller up on the Kilauea crater than we expected, and most of us on the tour were not dressed quite warm enough so everyone was a little chilled. But the tour and again the tour guide were great. I loved all the Hawaiian legends and the stories the tour operators tell. Back to the ship for another great evening. Our next two days were in Lahaina, Maui. My parents were vacationing in Maui along with some other relatives so again we did not book any shore excursions. Mom and Dad picked us up at the docks and we spent the first day driving to Hana. What an interesting experience. The road is about 65 km of winding, narrow and often down to one lane. It takes all day to do the drive but well worth it, the waterfalls, beaches and views are fantastic. We had dinner in Lahaina at Bubba Gumps, you must eat there, good food and lots of fun. Back late to the ship for sleep. Again the next day we were met by my parents and finally went to a beach. Our whole tour and we had yet to spend any time on the beach! Our sail away was bittersweet. I was looking forward to the r&r for the five days home to Canada, but I really enjoyed the islands. As we got away from the islands the ocean was a little rougher and the air a little chiller, but we still enjoyed our days onboard. The cruise director and the entertainment staff make sure there are always lots to do, games, trivias, contests, dance lessons, art lessons, just to name a few. I convinced my hubby to enter the Hairy Chest Contest, so I had an excuse to buy the Ship DVD...runner up...but at least he's featured in the DVD I bought. After 5 days I was rested and only a little excited to be getting home. Disembark at Vancouver was smooth and easy and we were soon picked up by our daughter and on our way home. I love cruising, this was only number 2...I am already planning 3, 4 and 5. Hopefully fuel prices don't make things too expensive...I like that cruises are a fun and reasonable way to travel. I suppose that could change...but I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope not! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This is my second cruise. The first was on NCL to Hawaii for 7 days. The only thing about the two cruises that was similar was the price. So we booked two category 11 suites and hoped for the best. We loved the Carnival Spirt and all the ... Read More
This is my second cruise. The first was on NCL to Hawaii for 7 days. The only thing about the two cruises that was similar was the price. So we booked two category 11 suites and hoped for the best. We loved the Carnival Spirt and all the nice people who work on that ship. We flew to Honolulu and stayed one night pre-cruise at the Halekulani. If you ever want to go to heaven on earth this is the hotel to try out. The service is 5 star. We stayed around the beautiful pool and had a great dinner in the Orchid's restaurant. Next day we took a taxi to Aloha Tower to the Carnival Spirit. Since we were in suite rooms we had VIP boarding but no need for that. There was no line and in short order we were on the Spirit. And greeted into the wonderful atrium lobby with glass elevators and a wonderful lobby bar where we were to spend several quiet and happy times. Our rooms were on deck 6 so up the glass elevator and down the hall. I just could not believe how nice the room was! There was polished wood flooring in the entry hall off of which was a dressing room with full closet. And through the dressing room was the full bath with jets in the bath tub. Since it was my golden birthday several evenings were spent in that tub with the jets on and champagne in hand. Such luxury on a ship! And the main part of the cabin had a king size bed, sofa, chair, mini bar, and another full size closet. Out on the lanai we had 4 chairs and a table. A really good size lanai. All this was maintained by our wonder Joseph and his assistant. These two cheerful fellows kept our room clean at all times and seemed to know just when to come in while we were out. Joseph took care of all our needs including keeping the mini bar stocked with champagne and sending out clothes out to be cleaned. It was like having a butler to handle all the details. Really great. The weather in Hawaii was perfect. As former residents we really cannot report on the shore excursions. We sometimes just stay on the ship or if we go ashore we rent a car. But if anyone would like any suggestions about what to do pleas ask. The food on the ship was just fine with me. We usually took breakfast in the lido buffet. What can you really do with breakfast? It is kind of limited in my opinion. But I always found something to eat and can really suggest the fresh fruit bar. The fellow there slices up fresh melons, mango, papaya, kiwis, just what ever you want to eat. That was very nice. At lunch the buffet had a lot of stations. Some, like the salad bar did not change too much. They did add some extra daily salads at the end of the line. But most of the rest did change each day. There was different Asian food and there was a station that did a different regional cuisine each day. So I never got to try everything. We also eat dinner in the main dining rooms. These meals with the professional wait staff of Dewa and Ernie were all very nice. It was fun to try new foods and for the most part all was good. The waiters really wanted to please so if you really did not like something they would just have you chose something else. They were very quick with all of this. The dining room was so nice that on the last night none us really wanted to leave. Think of those smart people who booked the Alaska cruise at the end of this one! But the real dining highlight for me was my 50th birthday dinner in the Supper Club. Dining on French champagne and the very best of cuisine ranks this as one of the nicest restaurants I have been to. It is just as nice as many places here in San Francisco. This is served with elegance in a relaxed style. With live music playing and the red glass dome lighting everything pink this is real romance. I cannot thank Carnival Spirit enough for making it my very best birthday ever. Back on deck our days were spend in the water slide or jogging around the decks. I had planned to use the gym a lot but it was so much nicer to go outside and do my yoga with the West Maui mountains in plain view. In the evenings we would take in a show. They were all fun and different each night. And then we would take a tour through the casino and play al little. But always we would end up for a night cap in the Atrium Bar. A real hotel lobby style bar with or favorite waiter Raymond bringing us a drink. Like other staff members his only concern was that the guests enjoy their vacation. The staff on the ship were all so nice. They always seemed to have time to chat a bit while still keeping an eye on their work. We found so many interesting folks among the staff. Speaking of staff I want to mention that this ship is super clean. They are always polishing and cleaning. I never entered a public restroom on the ship which was not clean. And it is all done with a smile and cheery "Good Day, Sir". Carnival really does great customer service training for their staff. We loved the 5 days at sea to Canada. Lots of time to read, relax, and best of all meet other guests. We found a lot of wonderful people from Australia, Canada, and the U.S. It was a lot of fun to just meet them all. One thing we really enjoyed were the formal nights. A lot of us don't dress up very often so it was really nice to do that. And to see all the other passengers who we only had seen in shorts. But there we all were cleaned up and in our formal wear. It was great. And then to sit in the bar and see everyone going in for the next seating. We loved all the suites and gowns. Well as you can tell my Golden Birthday cruise on the Carnival Spirit was all I hoped it would be and a lot I never imagined. For the money this was a true bargain. My parents liked it some much they are already booked for the same cruise next year. And I would not hesitate to go on another Carnival Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, which suited us perfectly. We drove from our home on Whidbey Island, Washington to Vancouver on Tuesday, April 29, for an overnight stay at the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel, where we were able to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, which suited us perfectly. We drove from our home on Whidbey Island, Washington to Vancouver on Tuesday, April 29, for an overnight stay at the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel, where we were able to leave our car for 15 days as part of our overnight stay there. Wednesday morning we took the shuttle to the airport to board WestJet for our flight to Honolulu. All of this worked perfectly, and at very reasonable cost. Our highest recommendation goes to WestJet, a low-cost Canadian carrier with low rates (especially if booking during a seat sale, as happened for us), new planes, extra leg room, leather seats, and cheerful attendants who dare to use their senses of humor. Our flight arrived in HNL on time, and we took a taxi to my sister and brother-in-law's condo right across the street from Aloha Tower and the Honolulu Harbor; from their lanai we had great views of Carnival Spirit's docking at 7:00 a.m. on May 1. We boarded Carnival Spirit on May 2, then had another day to share with our family members before sailing away at 6:00 p.m. Saturday. The details of our trip are best shared by means my photo album for this trip; go there see photos of each day's activities, many parts of the ship, and our port adventures, organized in story form with captions and descriptive day-by-day accounts. http://fredasphotos1.shutterfly.com/action This trip was selected for its itinerary, not for the ship, as our preference is for a smaller ship and a more subdued style. (Wind Star and Wind Spirit are my favorites; HAL's Ryndam is more my style for a larger ship.) Carnival Spirit's decor tends toward "glitz", a Las Vegas style rather than a soothing spa resort, which is more my preferred atmosphere and mood. That said, Spirit did a good job of what it intended to do, which is to provide a reasonably priced cruise experience to a large number of people. The shore excursions were well run, all crew members were cheerful and competent, and the ship was immaculate. My husband was disappointed to find only computerized poker on the ship; he had looked forward to playing poker on our 5 days at sea, but was not comfortable with computer poker. I enjoyed playing bridge on the days at sea, but was surprised to find no well-organized bridge program, nor any instruction, rather just pick-up games. There was something called a "bridge tournament", but it wasn't really that. Still fun, though. Both of us thought the food was only so-so. There were some marvelous items on offer (like the warm chocolate melting cake), but overall, dining was not up to the level of other cruises we've enjoyed (we've cruised on Holland America, Princess, Celebrity, NCL, Orient Lines, and Empress of the North, as well as the Windstar ships). A complaint (although not huge) is that we were told if we filled out the embarkation forms ahead of time on line for the "Fun Pass", we'd be able to bypass the long embarkation and go into an express line. NOT TRUE. There was only one very very VERY long line, which moved slowly. Maybe Carnival does better in its more often used ports, but in Honolulu, this was a bummer. It didn't take forever, but it sure was not an "express" process as promised. Many pax unhappy about that. For the full story and details of our cruise experience, do check our photo album; you will find lots of detailed information there, plus photos (and as they say, each photo is worth 1000 words!). Here's the link again: http://fredasphotos1.shutterfly.com/action Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We arrived in Honolulu on 30 April from Sydney, Australia and spent 2 nights and 2 days looking around. We boarded the Carnival Spirit on 2 May, 2008 ready for a great experience. The ship was beautiful and couldn't fault it (except ... Read More
We arrived in Honolulu on 30 April from Sydney, Australia and spent 2 nights and 2 days looking around. We boarded the Carnival Spirit on 2 May, 2008 ready for a great experience. The ship was beautiful and couldn't fault it (except for buffet food - breakfast and lunch very greasy and not very healthy). The service was excellent in all areas and the dining room food was beautiful. We visited Kauai where we found good snorkeling at Po'ipu Beach. We got a taxi there for $50 each way. This was a beautiful beach, plenty of fish to look at. We stayed for 3 hours and the taxi came back for us. Very good value for 4 people. Our next port was Kona where again we found good snorkeling. We discovered "Island Snorkel Beach Tours' costing $10 return. Dark sand on the beach and difficult to get into the water, but worth it as there was plenty of fish. Hilo was our next port. Very nice. We got the Hilo Hattie bus to the shopping centre where we found Wal-Mart, Boarders books etc. Did some shopping and returned to the ship on the bus. After lunch we found a local tour guy called David from 'Ali'i Taxi and Tours' on the pier. Highly recommend this guy as he was full of information and showed us so much in 1-2 hours for approx $15 per person (4 people). Final port in Hawaii was Lahaina where we docked overnight. Very nice place with quite good shopping. Five days at sea followed bound for Vancouver. The days as sea were lovely and we made the most of the ship activities. Golf lessons, library, trivia, and lots more. We also went to the Nouveau Supper Club for dinner. Great service and lovely food. Vancouver is a beautiful city. We did the ship's tour of the city and it was very good. Also managed to do some shopping there. The next day at sea was a bit rough, but who cares as we saw wildlife!!! A black bear on the shore as we ate breakfast, quite a few whales and porpoises, all during the morning. This made our day - very exciting. Juneau was our first port in Alaska where it rained all day. We did a tour of Mendenhall Glacier and Macaulay Salmon Hatchery and city tour. It was a good tour and we thought the Glacier was fantastic until we got to Glacier Bay the following day. We found the shopping good in Alaska, coats etc very cheap. We were determined to take a ride on the Mount Roberts Tramway as I had looked it up on the net before we came. What a great view. Well worth it. Glacier Bay was the highlight to our cruise. Too beautiful to explain - just must be seen. Skagway is a beautiful place. The buildings are either authentic from the Gold Rush and done up or new and replicated. The Yukon and White Pass railway is a must. The cost is the same whether purchased on the ship or at the railway station. Ketchikan was great too. Creek Street is so unusual with the shops on stilts. Great shopping again, but there were 5 ships in so very crowded. We would do this Alaskan cruise again and again. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date May 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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