36 Los Angeles Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews

Embarkation (1/1/11) We drove to the ship from Las Vegas and stayed at the San Pedro Doubletree. They let you park for the week as part of a room package and deliver you in their van to and from the pier. Tip the driver, who works ... Read More
Embarkation (1/1/11) We drove to the ship from Las Vegas and stayed at the San Pedro Doubletree. They let you park for the week as part of a room package and deliver you in their van to and from the pier. Tip the driver, who works very hard at getting you close to the curbside porters. My only complaint was that the porters seemed overwhelmed and you do not get a claim check for your luggage. That said, our luggage was in our room in less than 2 hours from the curb. The Carnival check-in personnel were quick and pleasant. TSA could take lessons. We were on the ship in less than 30 minutes from the curb at the height of check-in. I was hoping to get some lunch but the Lido deck, where lunch was served, was extremely crowded. That said, we got a quick bite before the ship departed. I think the signage on the Lido deck and throughout the ship could learn a thing or two from Las Vegas casinos. Signs are often small and hard to read, particularly near the elevators. The buffet stations are somewhat confusing but offered an ample lunch. During the cruise, the Lido deck food is well prepared and hot and there are numerous choices. Safety The ship held a thorough muster drill before departure. Our cabin steward showed us our life jackets. We had three in a room with only 2 people. We never felt our safety was compromised in any way. Plus, I read the signs and practiced going to the muster station. Room/Ship Our room was a starboard balcony. It had two chairs and a small table outside with a wooden deck. It was quite comfortable. We watched Mexico go by -- a lot. Our floor had only cabins above and below (hat tip to my Orbitz travel agent for that recommendation.) The room is about 185 square feet. The bathroom was clean and had free samples of various products. Towels were changed when we asked and not changed when we asked. Our cabin steward, Jessie, learned our names on day one and was ready if needed. The décor of the ship can be described as "Vegas casino modern." It is an eclectic mix that grows on you. After the first night, people spread out and the ship did not seem crowded. It was a mix of families, young people, and retirees. The casino looks interesting but I can gamble in my grocery store so I did not play. The shows were good. I recommend New Orleans night on the last night. The ship has Internet access, which worked fine, albeit a bit slow. I used both my iPad and the Internet café. ($29 for 40 minutes.) Word of caution -- don't use your cell phone on the ship. You will get service (Cell at Sea). It is $2.99 per minute! Also, don't use your cell phone in Mexico without discussing it with your US carrier before you go. Foreign cell changes can be very high. I have a friend who ran up a $3k bill on a recent trip since his iPhone was pinging the Mexican network. You get wireless service from the shore anchored in Cabo. Dining We ate most nights in the MDR with anytime dining. We got a table for two by the window, most nights. The lower MDR can be loud but our area was relatively quiet. The food is well-done though lukewarm on a couple of occasions. The wait staff was attentive and never pushed drink specials. The menu ranged from comfort food to more interesting choices, like frog legs. Wine prices are a bit high but not extraordinarily so. The wine list is what you would expect on a value-oriented cruise ship. Carnival is constantly hawking drinks but it is not as intrusive as some reviews claim. We ate breakfast in the MDR but try not to sit in the back. The vibration from the screws is annoying. We also ate dinner in the Steakhouse ($30/pp supplement). The food was extraordinary. My 18 oz rib-eye steak would have been $75 at Smith & Wollensky in Las Vegas. The wine list was superb and our wine captain helped us make a great selection. Dessert is not to be missed, save room. One food tip -- try the sushi cart early in the evening. Usually 3 interesting items but not enough for a full meal. Port call In Cabo the tendering process is very tedious. You need a numbered sticker to get off the ship. We got in the line early (10 am for an 11 am arrival) and got off within an hour. Tours have priority, so buy a Carnival tour. Some passengers told us they waited 3-4 hours to get off. Tendering on day 2 was first come-first served. Cabo is like many Mexican ports, lots of pushy street vendors. Try to stay on the beaten path. We heard from a fellow passenger that he got threatened by a Cabo policeman for some perceived offense, easily solved with money. Three ships were in port at the same time and 7,500 people all went to town at once. That is hard for any port to handle. We sat in a restaurant near the pier and had fish tacos and tequila and watched the port and people. Many people went whale watching and had a great time. Disembarkation The disembarkation process was our only major complaint. We arrived in San Pedro about 8:30 am. We were in group 17 to get off the ship and cleared customs at 12:45 pm. They kicked us out of our room at 11 am, so we were held on the Lido deck along with milling passengers. There was no food and they shut off the coffee. On shore, personnel were unhelpful and nearly non-existent and the lines were confusing. At one point, a porter was directing passengers where to go (he was wrong.) Clearing customs is a snap, if you have a US Passport. When you are in line, call the Doubletree and they will come and get you at the curb. Five minutes back to the hotel and your car. I think the disembarkation problems were due to the fact that the ship was headed to dry-dock in San Francisco after we got off. It needs some refurbishing. Our TV was 10 years old and the interactive menu did to work. Some paint was peeling on our balcony and the carpet was a bit dated. The ship moves to Australia this fall but will do Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska cruises until then. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I went with a family of seven on a cruise to Cabo in January. The Carnival Spirit was a nice ship but we were a little disappointed with the overall experience. It all started a week before the cruise. Carnival called us and asked if we ... Read More
I went with a family of seven on a cruise to Cabo in January. The Carnival Spirit was a nice ship but we were a little disappointed with the overall experience. It all started a week before the cruise. Carnival called us and asked if we would like to upgrade to 3 balcony rooms with interconnecting doors on the back of the ship and on the main deck that was near all the activities. We decided to take the offer because our original rooms were deck 2 inside staterooms and we figured for $200 a room we couldn't go wrong. Embarkation: The ship boarding went smooth and we were on the ship and in our rooms in 30 minutes. You just have to be aware that when you park at the San Pedro Pier you should drop your luggage and passengers off first and then park. Staterooms: When we arrived in our staterooms we were very pleased. The rooms were spacious and the balcony view was great from the aft of the ship. The stateroom porter was very friendly and took the time to call everyone by their first name throughout the entire cruise. The first thing we tried to do was open our balcony doors so that all 3 room balconies were connected. To our surprise we found that you need a special key to open the doors. We called down to guest services and they informed us that the balcony doors on the back of the ship could not be opened because of safety reasons. This was a big disappointment because this was the main reason we upgraded to balconies. Kid Activities: My 15 year old daughter loved the Club O2 activities and make a lot of new friends. The only time we seen her was breakfast and dinner the entire cruise. I also have a 8 yr old and 11yr old who enjoyed Camp Carnival. Dining: The La Playa Grill buffet was good and their was a good variety of foods to choose from. The kids loved the chicken fingers and hamburgers served outside at the pool grill. We ate dinner ever night at the Empire Dinning Room. Service was very slow and it took us 2hrs every night to eat. The staff was not very friendly the first 4 night and it seemed like we were a bother to them. Finally on the last night we received great service and the food was good. Port of Call: When we arrived in Cabo we were a little disappointed in the fact that we had to tendor to get to shore. Shame on us for not checking. The tendor process was very slow and you had to take numbers to tendor. It took us 4 hours to get ashore and by the time we got to shore we only had 2 hours to enjoy Cabo and then it was back to the ship. The 2nd day the tendor was quick, 1st come 1st serve. We rented jet skis from Banyon Tours and the staff was friendly and gave us a great deal on the rental. Although the waters in Cabo are very beautiful we were a little disappointed. We have been on several Caribbean islands and were expecting the waters to be as clear and blue as there. All and all we had a great time in Cabo and the locals are very friendly and welcoming people. Disembarkation: We arrived back at the Port of San Pedro at 8:30am. We decided to check our luggage thinking so that we did not have to roll around 7 pieces of luggage everywhere. It is a good thing we did because the process took 4 hours. After speaking with our room service porter we found out that the ship was going to dry dock and they were of loading everything on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This part is going to be mostly about the ship. The review of the ports are below. Let me start out that over all we enjoyed our trip. We LOVED Hawaii and hope to go back. We felt that for our first visit this was the way to see some ... Read More
This part is going to be mostly about the ship. The review of the ports are below. Let me start out that over all we enjoyed our trip. We LOVED Hawaii and hope to go back. We felt that for our first visit this was the way to see some of the best of what the islands had. Definitely not enough time on them, but gave us a good taste of what they had to offer. I'll start with the not so good for the ship. It's quite the story. From the start it had some faults. Check in was horrible. The lines were so long and we got there when our papers said to be there (at 1:00). There were computers not in use, which I think is not right when you know you have about 2,000 people you are trying to get on board. If you are a VIP, frequent cruiser to Carnival, then I'm sure this process is much better, but for those of us that aren't its pure torture! I was told I did not need a passport and could use my birth certificate, which I did, and I was also told I did not need to bring along my marriage certificate, just my drivers license with picture, which I did. When we finally had the chance to get up the counter to check in, they told me I needed my marriage license! What a mess. They did finally let me go but with a "warning" next time to bring it or get a passport and then a "Welcome to Carnival and good luck at customs getting off without the marriage license. They will probably understand". When we stopped and turned around to ask what she meant by that, she just said all should be ok. Just wonderful do we get on the ship or not? We went ahead and figured we'd worry about that when it came time to get off. People at Carnival need to get on the same page with the papers you need to check in. After the long wait to check in we were herded over to an area to get a boarding number. Upon receiving it we were told that all the sitting areas were full and to find something out where we were now and they would be calling our number. There was nothing around and we saw some people going through security and figured they were VIP. We opted to go outside and sit on some of the planters they have out there. It was very windy, but not too cool so it wasn't bad except for all the people out there smoking. We were outside about hour when a man came outside and said that some room had opened up inside if we wanted a seat inside. We got up to go inside and could see not seating at all. I don't know what he was talking about. We walked around to see if there was another lounge area with seating and didn't see a thing, but we did see people getting their boarding numbers and going straight into the security line. Their numbers could not have been called without ours being called because ours was about 9 numbers in front of theirs! We tried to find someone to help us, but no one that worked at the port or for Carnival could tell us anything. I finally approached a person that just got their number and was heading towards security and asked them if they were told they could go ahead through security or were they just doing it? She told me you can proceed through security at any time and just wait in the lounge areas they have after security until they call your boarding number. Why couldn't someone from Carnival or the port tell us that? So I'm telling you now, once you get your boarding number you can go through security and find a seat on the other side. If you are sitting on the other side of security, the side before you go through it, you do not hear them calling out the boarding numbers. We did not have too long of a wait once we made it through security and had we stayed on the other side we would not have known they were calling our number. After your number is called you proceed to an area to file past an area that you put in your sail and sign card and get your picture taken. Once through there you walk out of the building and then get into another line to enter the maze to get onto the ship. It is a glass covered gang plank, for lack of a better word for it. It's a huge line that goes back and forth about 5 times before you step onto the ship deck. I think there needs to be a different boarding area for those in wheelchairs instead of trying to push them through the lines of people waiting to board. Trying to get people to crunch over to one side so the wheelchairs or motorized chairs can go through is hard to do. I don't mind that they need additional help (I think I'll soon be joining their ranks), I just think it would be easier for all if there was another place they could get on the ship or else you stop the lines occasionally and put them on in groups. I know many of the people in the chairs were apologizing as they were going by and I felt bad for them that they felt they needed to do that. I didn't feel they needed to. I'm sure they would have rather have been standing in line. It's the workers that were pushing them that were sometimes rude. That is why I say if there could be a different area for those that needed the additional assistance it would be better for all and maybe they wouldn't be so uncomfortable either. When we finally made it through the ship doors we were greeted with Carnival workers passing out silk leis. It was finally like...we're on vacation! Very nice. Until we made it to the elevators! They asked that you use the central bank; however, they did not mean the whole central bank. Some were blocked from use because they were using them to get the luggage to the people. I totally understand that they want to get people their things as quickly as possible. What I don't understand is how rude people waiting for a free elevator can be! The pushing and shoving that was going on. Come on now people. We all had to wait to get on and we all were waiting and wanting to get to our rooms. Once we made it onto the elevator (hint, we took it down and then back up) our room was ready, which was nice. Right away I noticed that the chairs on our balcony were too small for me to sit in with my leg and asked our steward for something different. That issue never got solved so for me the extended balcony was an additional fee I didn't need to pay because I didn't get full use of it. I don't understand why the chairs on the balcony aren't the same size as the chairs on the Lido deck. I was fine in those. Now onto the food issue. My understanding was that Carnival just changed their menu on all of their ships. I wish I could have tasted what they offered before because as far as I was concerned, the new menu was horrible! I had to really search long and hard to find something good to eat. You can only eat so much salad. On our first cruise (Celebrity) on their formal night they did lobster and Prime rib, as did this cruise. The difference? On this cruise the lobster tail was about the size of a piece of perch once you took the "meat" off the shell and on our first cruise it was a nice big "regular" sized piece of lobster tail. I would say you'd have to order about 6 maybe 7 of the lobster tails on this cruise to equal one normal sized one. Very disappointing. We didn't bother going to the second formal night. My final complaint of the ship is the excursions they offer. Maybe I'm picky, but for the most part they didn't offer much that interested me. I'd like a part of one and then a part of another. It made it had to pick out what to do so we rented cars on the first two islands and then used the Trolley by Honolulu. Carnival did offer a couple of different snorkel adventures; however, the type of boat they use for this is not suitable for everyone, especially me. I can't ride in one of those raft type boats and I certainly can't climb back into the boat with that type of ladder. Many people had this same complaint. I wrote to Carnival regarding this issue when I found a boat in Kona called the Body Glove that was a boat I could snorkel from and requested they look into making a contract with them so all of us could snorkel. The reply I got was they could not do it (I'm thinking it might be a breach of contract with whoever they contracted with already, but something needs to be done for those that can't use the one they have booked already). I talked with Body Glove because Kona is a tender port and since I'm not a frequent cruiser and not "legally" handicapped I would not get on the tender in enough time to do their trip. Body Glove was so nice since so many of us on this cruise wanted to do their adventure, they changed their start time. Much more accommodating than Carnival was (by the way, it was wonderful, you should check them out!!!). That all being said, this was Carnival Spirit's first 15 day cruise so they had some things to learn from it. They have room to tweak things if they want to continue to offer this cruise. I hope they'll be reading people's reviews so it will help to make a better time for future people sailing with them. I know some of this may seem petty, but these are things that can make or break a vacation. Many of these things can be adjusted and improvements made so they don't happen to make for better cruising. Something that Carnival had no control over was the weather. While on ship it wasn't very good. We had a lot of gloomy days and right off the bat we had very high seas with a lot of rocking and rolling. Our understanding was that about 1/4 of the crew was even seasick! They did have their "little white bags" taped up all over the ship if you needed them. Thank goodness I didn't need any use of them!!! DH wasn't feeling well, but after two days he started to feel better also (a little dry toast, green apples, and ginger ale along with some Dramamine did the trick). Also some good advice from our server the first night was to stay out of the bathroom (too closed in) and get out of the room and onto a lower deck where it's wide open and try to see as far as you can..but don't look out the windows. We went down into the atrium area and it seemed to work out pretty good. On the good side of our cruise, I found that for the most part most of the workers were very, very friendly and greeted you with a smile and a hello (except for the guys by the pizza area!). Our room was kept nice and the room steward and helper were very good when we accidentally broke a glass while the seas were not cooperating with their high waves! Our steward and helper remembered our names from the start and that's always nice too. We got many cute towel animals each evening, as well as our beds turned down and the mints on our beds. I did buy a soda card and one young man from the very first time I asked for a soda remembered me and what I drank and every time he saw me would ask if I'd like another, which was nice. It didn't matter if I was by the pool, in a lounge or in the main show room, he remembered me. It was nice they had some desserts that were sugar free; however, I wish they offered a little more variety of them (just changing the flavor, but having the same thing starts to get old on this long of a cruise). I was happy for the effort to have them though. I liked that the captain of the ship came over the speakers every day but I wish he'd say something that we'd understand a little better. I especially liked that he did come on one of the days the weather was extremely bad and many people were worried if the ship could take the beating it was taking with the high seas and winds (it was really creaking and I was just starting to get a little worried...never seasick like so many other, but just wondering since this was its first time). He assured everyone that ship was handling everything fine (there were a few people that were sitting with their life jackets by them and that was when I got a little worried wondering if they knew something I didn't...but I looked at some of the crews faces when they were walking by and didn't see any worry in them so I figured we were ok for now). It would be nice to have a weather update besides saying no changes for the day. Maybe let us know what the next day was going to look like and what the temp of the day was? There was a nice variety of things to do on the ship also. My only suggestion would be to have back up plans when something happens and you can't carry through with the first plan (like when the decks were closed because of the high seas so those things got canceled and nothing was in its place so it made for some sitting around for some people and they weren't happy). For us, we enjoy lounging by the pool and with the bad weather, that didn't happen. Not Carnival's fault though...so I got a lot more reading done. We also sat down in the Atrium area and enjoyed what was going on there and a lot of the music they offered there. We didn't participate in the events that were offered; however, we did go and view those that did for many different ones. A lot of fun was had by those that participated and those watching. Each of the islands had their own unique thing about them. It was very hard to pick a favorite. Best advice I'd give is to make sure to either carry an umbrella or poncho for the islands. It may be sunny when you get off the ship, but things can change quickly. I brought the items from home, but left them on the ship. Live and learn. We didn't mind getting wet though. It was warm and I was in Hawaii!!! The only excursion we did through the ship was in Kauai and it was the Hollywood Movies and Waterfalls. I really liked it because we got to see so much of the island and learn a lot about quite a few places. I felt it was worth the price and I was glad we ate at a restaurant instead of on the beach someplace. The food was very good (a burger, but good!). You could also see beautiful waterfalls from way up in the mountains coming down and it was kind of gloomy that day so I can imagine how it looked on a clear day! As much as I got aggravated with all the people wanting to take pictures of you on the ship, I'm glad we finally took advantage of it the night before our last night. They did a wonderful job. Much better than I thought it was going to turn out and now wished I would have taken advantage of them a little more often. Again, live and learn! I'm just glad we got a really nice picture of the two of us. The ones they take while you get off the ship didn't turn out so great so I was glad we did this and we have a good one of us together. Bingo can get out of hand. It was quite pricey and they kind of have you hooked when they do the progressive. You figure you've donated a couple of times so you need to try to win it back. Also on the pull tabs they offer. They say you have 12 chances to win, but in reality you only have 11 because the very last pull is either a no win one or if you won higher up on the card it verifies what you won on that one, so really you only have 11 chances...just a FYI on that one. These pull tab cards have an additional card at the bottom that you tear off and put in a bin in the casino that they draw at the end of the cruise to pay off your bar tab up to I believe it was $500. My hubby threw ours away on the first day because we don't drink, but they will pay for your sodas too so don't toss them! Make sure to place them into the bin in the casino or else give them to someone else to use. The placement of our cabin was great. We were in room 7237. This was midship and close to the stairs and the elevators there. We had no excessive noise from any of it. On our balcony we could see to the front of the ship; however, we could not see to the back because the rooms next to us jutted out from the side of the ship there. It was fine with us. If we wanted to see behind us, just go on deck or turn on the tv to that channel. Looking down, there was a life boat below us, but you could still see the water. If we took Spirit again, I'd definitely pick this cabin again (especially if they'd get larger chairs for sitting on the deck!). We did not hear any noise above or below us either. Sometimes in the bathroom you could hear the "neighbors" if, and that's if, they were yelling (like someone being in the bathroom with the door closed and "yelling" out to someone in the cabin..never heard any-ones "business" going on though! Of course on your balcony you could hear others out on theirs, but you only saw them if they were leaning over the railing below you. FYI..never any cigarette smoke came on our balcony and I know a floor down and a room or two over there was a guy smoking on his, but it never came up to us. We had plenty of room for all of our things in our room. I did bring an over the door shoe bag for the bathroom and that worked out great too. The shower looked to be so small, but once in it, there was plenty of room to wash up and not be hitting the shower curtain. The power in the shower head was great too. I did hear this noise in the bathroom sink like there was a ping pong ball in there and as we rocked back and forth you hear it making a noise. It was driving me nuts and I figured out if you close the stopper on the sink it stops. That took care of that! The steakhouse was delicious! This is what I would expect of the main dining room though. I don't think it's right to have a restaurant on the ship that you have to pay additional money to eat there...even if it's "only" $30 per person. By the time you tip you're well on your way to almost $100 per night for 2 people. Getting off the ship is a whole can of worms! It was much worse than getting on, I can tell you that!!! They need to change this and fast. When I was booking I specifically asked what time we would be off so I know when I should book our return flight because we could NOT spend another night away from home. They told me any time after 12pm and we would make our flight fine, so I went with that information and I booked a 1:40pm flight from LAX. Carnival told me I would have no problems at all making that flight, so I didn't worry. That is until I hear other people on the ship saying they were asking to get off ship because they had an early flight and they told them they would have a number 2 and they would be fine. Everyone would be off ship by 11:30am. That made me feel a little better. We get up on our last morning, get everything else packed that we used that morning and didn't pack the night before and set out and headed to breakfast. They requested you be out of your room by 8am and we were in plenty of time. We had a nice breakfast (where was this food during the cruise???) and then headed for floor #2 (they asked that you stay off of floor #3). We didn't stay on the Lido because there were a lot of sick people (coughing so much) and we were trying to stay well. We made it down to #2 and there were no seats anyplace to be had. I found the stairs and we sat....and sat...and sat. No announcements were being made and no people or numbers being called. Now I'm beginning to worry. Its 10am and nothing. The line at guest services is really long so no asking anyone there. No employees to be found either and the crowd is turning mean! We ended up moving because one guy was really angry and there is no telling when people get like that what they may do. We moved off towards the casino area. As we were walking we see people going up to #3...Hmm, no one called though. Then one man says they are "self-service" and carrying their own luggage off. Finally Stu, the cruise director, comes on and chastises people for getting in line when not called and it's holding up things so he asks them to leave the lines and allow it to proceed the way it's planned. Didn't happen. Now more people are going up to #3 and getting in this line that is not supposed to be there. By the looks of the line it's going to take a long time to get off and we will probably miss our flight. DH decides to go and get in line anyway even though we're not called and we're now one of the ones not listening to Stu! I went up to #3 also and sat on the main stairs while DH got in line. About 10:30am he's finally by where I'm sitting so I join him. As I get in line Stu calls for numbers 1 & 2 to get in line. Now I feel better...but it's still a long, long wait. Once we get to the area to get off ship I see what is holding everything up. The customs people are on the ship instead of in the warehouse area and there are 4 of them and only 3 are sitting looking at papers! Now get this, 3 workers for 2,000 people! Not only that, but they started with all of the foreign people first. This is the US and we pay the taxes here so I think we should go first...but that's just me. FYI: Customs didn't even ask me for the marriage license! Once off the ship, it was quite a walk, but we made it and down to our luggage area and it was just as they said it would be. With your debark number for each section. We found our section, found our luggage and found a porter to cart it outside for us. Our limo wasn't there so we just took a taxi ($60) to LAX. It was now 12:15pm and our plane takes off at 1:40. I thought for sure we might miss it, but the airport security went much quicker than I thought it was going to (first time being full body scanned!). We even had time to grab a bite to eat and make it to the bathroom before boarding our flight, thank goodness! Didn't have any extra time to spare though and didn't linger over lunch either. As I said when I started out, there were many things that I didn't care for on the ship, but there were other things that were good (forgot to mention the acts they had for entertainment...hit and miss too. Everyone is different in their likes and dislikes though so what I didn't like someone else loved, and vice versa). Would I take this trip again? I sure hope I get the chance to. Would it be with Carnival? I'd have to see if they changed things around some before saying if there were other ships making the same trip. If they were the only ship doing it, I'd probably do it just so I could see Hawaii again (flying is out for me because I have a DVT and it's too long of a flight). I'm sure you'll find many people agreeing with me on these things and I'm just as sure you'll find those that disagree with me. As I said, we're all different, but I wanted to tell it like it was for us. I hope this helps others and I especially hope Carnival looks at all the reviews and tries to improve the things that they can. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We can't blame the cruise line for the bad weather, however we have been on smother riding trains than this ship. In the MDR even in smooth seas there was always vibration including the silver and china (as if the screws were out of ... Read More
We can't blame the cruise line for the bad weather, however we have been on smother riding trains than this ship. In the MDR even in smooth seas there was always vibration including the silver and china (as if the screws were out of balance). We could even feel the vibration in our cabin at night (mid ship deck 6). It was obvious the staff has been cut as the dining service really suffered. Our cabin was fine and well maintained by our steward Gusti however the chairs on our balcony had dried paint all over them. Of course the minibar took up the whole refrig so we put the cans overpriced soda, water and beer in a cabinet so that WE could use the fridge. The food was the absolute worst we have ever experienced on a cruise!!!! Most of the MDR dishes were beautiful to look at, but horrible to eat. (Prime rib covered in a brown gravy that was NOT au jus; desserts that were for the most part tasteless.) Many of the same items were repeated several times. It's pretty telling when we looked forward to being in port so that we could get a descent meal (even fast food was better). Lack of entertainment and interesting things to do added to our displeasure. However, one of our biggest complaints besides the food was the MOB of photographers wanting to pose us to sell hundreds of VERY COSTLY pictures. (It reminded us of the gauntlet of booths at tourist spots trying to get you to buy their wares.) Longer stays in port would have been better as well; the short stop in Kona where passengers had to be tendered on the lifeboats was a real waste of time. Some overnight stays would be better and give you some real time to see these Beautiful Islands... Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My husband and I took this cruise to avoid the holiday same ol same ol. We left the 23rd of December and returned January 1st. It worked! All in all we had a very good time. We were lucky to meet some new friends that I believe we will ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise to avoid the holiday same ol same ol. We left the 23rd of December and returned January 1st. It worked! All in all we had a very good time. We were lucky to meet some new friends that I believe we will have for years to come. In fact we have all booked another adventure together on Holland America. Having said all this let me move on to the problems Carnival is having with their ship the Spirt. Leaving San Pedro went very well, coming back into San Pedro again no problems. Luggage was handled (6 pieces) without issue coming and going. Loved our balcony room. Took advise from another review and brought a small nylon rope to hold the door open so we could hear the ocean all night. Our #1 problem was food. Where to start.....If you enjoy your coffee as we do you will be spending lots of ship $$ at the coffee stands. The coffee they serve is vile and cold. We even tried ordering it in room still cold and horrible. First morning we stood in one of the omelet lines to watch them pour eggs from previously frozen then, defrosted milk like containers . I tried to tell the man that was making the omelet that I did not want the outside crispy but to no avail. Each and every omelet was served crispy and over cooked. Day 2 I grabbed oatmeal I mean how can that be wrong. If was 7:30 and the oatmeal was room temp. My husbands sausage and potatoes were the same. This is something that went on 9 days. Food on the buffet is not held at a proper temperature. The only hope of hot food from the buffet was the Asian food line where they cook in a wok right in front of you. Which from the length of the line each day at lunch was the conclusion many of the other guests felt too. I asked one of the buffet servers why the steam tables they were serving from were not hot he just looked at me and shrugged. I ate the very stale ½ a bagel the rest of the trip for breakfast it was the least of the evils. We looked forward to leaving ship to get a meal! We did open seating for dinner and loved it. You have the opportunity to meet so many interesting and fun people. Food here was better. 50/50 chance of it being eatable. We found food here to be better than a Denny's and not as good as chilies. Trying to give a comparison I don't eat at either but gives you an idea. I asked others at our table if this food was served in a restaurant in your town would you go back. The answer was usually no. We did not purchase any tours with Carnival since reading others on here pointed out you pay 50% more than waiting till you get to port and buy them on the dock. By the way there is a great little hole in the wall cafe in Puerta Vallarta called Joe & Jacks it is yummy! It is located in the old part of the city over the bridge. My only negative was the last port in Manzanillo. What were you thinking Carnival? This is a toilet! The town is dirty and the whole place smells of urine. We ran back to the ship. I had read on here other people saying this was a must miss, but I thought they were being cranky no, they were being nice! I had no problem with smoke. I know many people have posted that they did. I went to all the public rooms, clubs and Bars and never had any problem. We are both non smokers. Our room never smelled like smoke so I was really happy about that. We saw a couple of the comedy shows for adults they were good. I thought Carnival handled the Xmas very well. It was not in your face. They decorated with a winter land kind of theme so that all people could enjoy the season. I would have liked them to change the music tapes after December 25th . We had another week or so of Xmas theme music playing in the background. The employees seemed mega stressed. They work very hard. With the exception of the buffet all were very kind and curtous. The buffet area you can get run over, pushed , shoved etc. Its a war zone of guest verses employees. This area has a huge problem with language verses communication . All in all again we had fun. I don't know if I would choose carnival again. The up side is I came home with a only 2 lb weight gain for 9 days! Yippie Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
From embarkation to debarkation, the 15-night Los Angeles-Hawaii-Los Angeles cruise on CARNIVAL Spirit was our most disappointing cruise to date on CARNIVAL. EMBARKATION: Spirit arrived late from her previous cruise due to weather ... Read More
From embarkation to debarkation, the 15-night Los Angeles-Hawaii-Los Angeles cruise on CARNIVAL Spirit was our most disappointing cruise to date on CARNIVAL. EMBARKATION: Spirit arrived late from her previous cruise due to weather conditions. The late arrival caused all of the embarkation and departure routines to be delayed at least two hours; two hours of sitting in the embarkation lounge while passengers grew impatient; many becoming downright obnoxious. Even under ideal conditions the Los Angeles World Cruise Port leaves much to be desired - under a delay it is nearly unbearable. SEA DAYS: Cruise lines cannot control the weather, but they can plan for contingencies when weather conditions prevent most of the topside activities those of us who cruise regularly have come to expect. Sea days with high winds (some gusts over 50 kt) was the norm on this cruise. For the first two days of the cruise the ship seemed to be a ghost ship there were so few passengers visible in the public areas. Even with the dome on the Lido Deck partially closed, the wind made being on deck unbearable. FOOD: Where has CARNIVAL gone wrong? Until this cruise, food in the MDR was always something to look forward to. While not gourmet by any standards, the quality of the food offered and service provided was akin to any good shore-side restaurant. On this cruise all of that went away. Whoever came up with the new menu in the MDR needs to re-think it and perhaps consider returning to the old menu. Having sailed in June 2011 on PARADISE, we were totally surprised and disappointed with the quality of food and service on this cruise. OVERALL SERVICE: This too was a disappoint on this cruise with the sole exception of our Cabin Stewart Marlon and his assistants. Room service couldn't get a simple Continental Breakfast order correct on 12 out of the 15 days. Bartenders couldn't even make a Rob Roy correctly (how hard can scotch and sweet vermouth be to mix?). The crew in general did not seem as friendly and caring as on past cruises (the weather may have been a factor but "if you can't handle the movement, don't go to sea"). DINING ROOM SERVICE: Way back in 1991 we sailed on JUBILEE. Our waiter was Burt; the assistant waiter was Angel. In December 2011 our waiter was Vincente; don't remember his assistant's names. Twenty years apart but each will be long remembered for much different reasons. Burt and Angel because they were so good; Vincente and his assistants because they were so bad. In fairness, CARNIVAL has been and is likely to remain our favorite cruise line. Our judgment of this cruise is harsh because of the great experiences we have had on all of our other CARNIVAL cruises. 10 days at sea is a lot of time to fill with activities - Spirit gets a D-minus in this regard when compared to the 14-day re-positioning cruise on Pride in 2009. On Pride I had wondered how the staff would fill the entertainment needs of the passengers on such a long cruise - they did fill the time beyond our wildest expectations; perhaps Spirit could learn from Pride. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was my first cruise, and to be frank I wanted to go with Holland America but the holiday cruise I wanted was booked and I could only get a late booking with Carnival. I was traveling alone and single over the holidays, so knew this ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and to be frank I wanted to go with Holland America but the holiday cruise I wanted was booked and I could only get a late booking with Carnival. I was traveling alone and single over the holidays, so knew this would be an interesting experience to say the least, since I was aware of Carnival's reputation of being geared more toward families, cheap cruising, and "fun." My defense was booking a very nice suite, and taking some beautiful clothes and my usual playful, adventurous spirit, determined to dress up no matter what, and hopefully meet some nice people. First, I'll say I'm hooked on cruising, despite Carnival, which was about what I expected. I will say my suite was beautifully decorated, large and tasteful. as advertised. I deliberately booked in the back of the ship on the port side, and it was very quiet and comfortable, no issues at all. The vibration from the engines only got to be a bit much on the long journey back traveling North, where I needed ear plugs. Otherwise, my cabin steward was wonderful and looked out for me traveling alone, very gracious. My main complaint was the outdated TV with a VHS player, and the movie channel never worked the entire time. The room was huge and had more storage space than any large hotel suite I've stayed in. Initially the whirlpool jets in my tub didn't work since I ran out of hot water before it could reach them- this was eventually fixed. This cabin was far away from stairs/ elevators, and I enjoyed walking so got a lot of exercise going to and fro. I was really glad I read the forum before hand though to know to bring a power strip, since this large room literally had only ONE outlet. My main complaints were Guest (lack of) Services, the shore excursions, and the food. I paid a fortune for the cruise and their tacky, constant, hard sell approach with the shore excursions was a turnoff. It's obvious Carnival makes most of their money off of their expensive shore excursions and alcohol, plus the "extras" they charge you for. Guest Services was in general, a joke. They didn't have any authority and seemed clueless and sometimes rude, not calling back about a problem or question at least half the time, unless I complained, and even then, it seemed no one was in charge. They offered a lot of excuses and very little apology or remedy. The intent and quality of the shore excursions was insulting. You can easily get better shore experiences for less money. It's obvious Carnival has a contract with a specific chain of Mexican jewelry/ silver/ trinket stores. Of the 2 excursions I went on that included "shopping" we were clearly steered THROUGH these stores, one which included a watered down "semi" Tequila tasting. Each stop featured the same store. We were very limited in time off the bus in these shopping districts so couldn't really venture out much to other stores. On the last outing myself and a few others were so irritated we asked to be taken back early to the ship via cab. No lunch at an exclusive beach as promised- the beach restaurant host didn't even know we were coming and said there was no room on the beach. Tour director was clueless. Because I did assert myself strongly at the Shore Excursion desk, they did refund my money. The other excursion was a wine tasting, with a really annoying Mexican tour guide who talked non-stop and made inappropriate remarks about Caucasians. He obviously resented his job! Being charged $4 each time I got a latte from the coffee bar was ridiculous. The food in the "troughs" (Lido cafeteria) as my new found friends and I called it, was bad. Not hot, poor quality, and unresponsive service. The attitude of the serving staff was apathetic at best, and I avoided that food as much as possible, sticking to the salad bar and occasional Asian food line. The main restaurant food was okay, the service sometimes great, sometimes lacking. The option for any time dining was great, and I enjoyed talking with the people I met at various tables. I even ate dinner alone one time and was placed at a table where I didn't feel awkward. The food in the steakhouse was good, and they did offer some good wines. If anything, the steakhouse was not advertised enough, as there weren't many people there. Perhaps they objected to the $30 per person cover charge. Another minor complaint was the loudspeaker system. The safety briefing in the beginning was a joke because you couldn't hear a thing. Ridiculous how the cruise director's message was not able to be heard unless you opened your cabin door, yet when I was getting any of several massages in the spa, the calming music would be interrupted by his blaring voice. The time changed back and forth during this cruise and no verbal announcement was made- it was in tiny print on the daily newsletter, easily missed. About the spa service: Be careful of who you get as a masseuse. Overall they were okay, about what I expected for a cruise ship, but one young woman who performed a "hot stone massage" hurt my back in between the shoulder blades and I later found out I had a cracked rib. Wasn't aware of it at the time, but she clearly didn't know what she was doing. Overall, the ship was in good condition, the decorations tasteful for Christmas, nicely understated, and the gym was beautiful. The best part of the cruise was meeting some really nice people who shared similar viewpoints about life and the overall experience, and making friends with them made the cruise fun. Several of us are already booked on another cruise with Holland America to Alaska in September. I would only cruise with Carnival again they were the only ones offering something where I wanted to go and when. I have no major complaints and had no really bad experiences. Their cruises aren't intended for single adults, but it was still a wonderful experience overall. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We have always wanted to do this cruise. We were booked on the NCL Spirit out of Tampa and cancelled without any penalty about six months prior to the cruise date. We had booked a balcony and as the prices dropped we up-graded first to ... Read More
We have always wanted to do this cruise. We were booked on the NCL Spirit out of Tampa and cancelled without any penalty about six months prior to the cruise date. We had booked a balcony and as the prices dropped we up-graded first to an extended balcony and then hit the jack pot and ended up with an AFT extended balcony on the Main deck (number 4), just above the Anytime part of the main dinning room. We took a 7 hour drive from Arizona to the port and checked into the San Pedro DoubleTree. We made reservations in advance for the most inexpensive room and about a week before we were scheduled to arrive used our CLC membership to re-book and got a rate reduction that was better the hotwire, priceline or anything else. The DoubleTree was great, not any better then ***+ but with the free parking for 15 days I would recommend this hotel and plan on staying here for our next cruise. The hotel manager, Tommy introduced himself to us at breakfast, the bell hops, front desk and shuttle drivers to the port were all very nice. The breakfast buffy was a little on the spendy side, but we saved so much on the room, went ahead and enjoyed the convenience of eating at the hotel. The night before we had dinner at the 22nd Street Landing Seafood Bar and Grill just a short walk from the hotel. Good food, service and wonderful views. Embarkation was slow. The ship was late getting in due to bad wx coming back from Mexico. We were in the first group after the VIP's and boarded around 2pm Our cabin, a AFT extended balcony on the Main deck was ready at 2:30. It was as expected, spotless, fresh and in very good shape for a 10 year old ship. We met our cabin steward and his assistant and expressed our special request for the cruise and they didn't miss a thing for the next 15 days. Two very nice, friendly and hard working young men. We sailed on the Carnival Spirit last December to Southern Mexico and enjoyed the Spirit last year. For being at sea 10 years I found the ship to be in very good condition. It is going into dry dock soon and will be refitted for its move to Australia. The crew is very friendly, and I had a hard time keeping up with all the greetings from them. This was a senior cruise. I have never seen so many canes, wheel chairs, gimps and fat folks in my last 67 years. I would expect this group on all future Hawaiian voyages. There were less the 100 kids on board and we never saw one that was not a joy to watch or talk to. Now the old coots were sometimes a different story. Be patient and just go with flow, especially at the hog trough (buffy). Dining was a little different then a year ago. We found the menus in the MDR left a bit to be desired. Each of our meals there were enjoyable and even tho we had our favorite server Elana, most of the time, the others were also very good during Any Time Dining. We had breakfast and lunch a few times also in the MDR and ate a number of times for lunch at the Lido buffy. We had room service every morning to start our day and they were always on time. On a few occasions they would forget part of the order, but with a phone call the items would be replaced post haste. Burgers and dogs were available at the midship pool almost all day. We could always get eggs cooked to order at the buffy and hot and cold sandwiches at the Deli were very good. Ice cream sundaes were available on the back of the Lido after 3pm and soft serve was always available. Now if I could only get the hogs to sanitize their hands before scooping up the chow. And then there is always some jerk who eats his way through the line. Get some manners. The first night we had dinner at the Steak House. Worth the $30 each. I had Surf and Turf and Bev had Lobster. You have to order the Chocolate Sampler for desert. They threw in a bottle of wine on the first night. We also ordered room service a couple of times. The BLT and Shrimp PoBoy was excellent. Always order cookies from room service, their great. Entertainment was good. We enjoyed three shows best. Big Easy (The New Orleans Show, Comedy Hypnosis and the Game of Love. Loads of music every where. Stu does a fine job keeping the activities going. Loads of BINGO and the casino was a great place to blow a few bucks. We have been to the Island three times on cruises and have flown over an additional for or five times. We rented cars from Alamo and Thrifty through "discount hawaii car rental" (add the dot com) and never paid over $34.12 per day. Do not pre pay fuel. Just fill it up before you turn it in. You will save about $10 per rental. We did self tours by car or bus on all the Island except Kauai. When we got off the ship in Honolulu we met Alex of Alex Tours. His operation is out of Nawiliwili on Kauai and charges $45 at the end of the tour. His buses hold 10. Look for him in Honolulu, he fly's in and put you on the list for the next day. His 4 hour tour turned out to be about 5.5 hours. If you get off the ship in Ensenada, do not, and I repeat, do not waste your time going into town at night. There is plenty to do and see at the pier. We found the downtown to be dark, dingy and boring. Perhaps it is a different story in the day time. Disembarking was a snap. Best U.S.Customs service we have ever had, quick pick-up by DoubleTree back to our car and a nice ride back to Arizona. We will sail with Carnival again and enjoyed being with them for a third time. See our cc roll call here http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1228136 Coasty Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Particulars: My family joining me to celebrate my birthday included Me, DW, DD(5) and DS(8), also adult niece, nephew and wife, and sister. Since only my niece has cruised previously, when my wife said she wanted to get my family ... Read More
Particulars: My family joining me to celebrate my birthday included Me, DW, DD(5) and DS(8), also adult niece, nephew and wife, and sister. Since only my niece has cruised previously, when my wife said she wanted to get my family together for my birthday, a cruise wasn't the first thing I thought of. I wanted to get together somewhere warm over the holiday period rather than the chilly places where we live, the closest and most affordable being our old favorite Mexico. I had looked at booking flights and renting a house on the beach near PV, staying at an inexpensive inclusive, and was dismayed at the cost. Having heard that cruising can be a good value, I checked travel websites to find that the cost came in around the same or less than flying in. Well, Disney was higher of course, and it would have been nice for the kids. Checking the Disney forums, though, I found that the food on Carnival was well-regarded by people who have cruised both. That definitely tipped the scales to Carnival. The price was right, so we next had to select the ship. Checking the web for reviews, I came across CC, and was pleased to discover a forum with as much depth of information and as many fanatical posters as any consumer site that I frequent. I am amazed at the number of repeat cruisers, something I thought people only did maybe once in a lifetime. Planning was a lot of fun, I got to learn a lot about something (cruising) I didn't really know that much about. A short cruise on Inspiration would have been cheap, but I didn't think I would get the full cruise experience, so we looked at the Spirit and Splendor, both with similar itineraries. Of course Spirit was the popular winner here, and I liked the idea of a less confusing layout on our first cruise, and the less-crowded feeling. Having cleared the selection with everyone, I booked the Spirit. We planned to drive down, so I booked the San Pedro Doubletree with a parking package. My relatives flew down from Canada, while we packed up the kids and drove the 6 hours to LA in light traffic. One of the fun things about cruising is selecting your cabin, er, stateroom, for California residents a balcony on Spirit is less than oceanview, so when booking I used Travelocity (which was pretty easy to use) to pick the cabin. Having seen some reference to "secret" extended balconies, I was thrilled when 6232 came up for me (maybe because there's 4 of us). I looked at some pictures to verify, the "bowling alley" name certainly fit! So I quickly booked it. I regretted using Travelocity later, since they said they had a policy not to link bookings with other agents. Luckily my niece's agent was nice enough to step up to the job, so that we could share an 8-top. I don't think I would use Travelocity again because of that. Doubletree San Pedro I must say I was very impressed by the hotel staff. We arrived in the evening, unloaded the bags, and headed for dinner. That is, my family went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner, and my niece and I headed out for tacos, my greatest weakness. More precisely, "gringo" tacos; I had read that there is an El Taco in San Pedro, a joint that we used to have in the Bay Area. Yummy faux-Mexican. I brought them back to the hotel and they were nice enough to let me slobber them down in the restaurant with my family. The restaurant manager was going around chatting with people, the staff were all very friendly. The hotel property is really nice, it was a bit pricey with the package and a marina view, but we really enjoyed it. The next morning, we went down to the breakfast buffet, which was pretty good (the bacon was definitely better than Carnival's). Our shuttle wasn't until 11:30, so I took our bags over to the pier early(with gifts it came to around 12 of them). The hotel was doing its required monthly fire alarm test so it was really loud all over the place, so we went down to the lobby to wait where it was slightly quieter. The restaurant manager said that he heard it my birthday was coming, so he brought me a bottle of sparkling wine! My family swore they hadn't set him up to do that, so my thanks to him. Since it was cold and I had already distributed bottles to each of the adults to bring on board, we popped it open right there and sipped it until it was time to go. Embarkation As I was entering the LA cruise terminal, a confused looking family asked me if they were going to the right pier, I looked at their boarding pass and it said "Inspiration." I told them you've got to cross that big green bridge and get to Long Beach! I hope they (and their bags if they checked them) got there OK. We went up the terminal escalator and got in the boarding line. It took about 20 minutes. After getting our cards, we went quickly through security, who checked the sodas in my bag. We then waited about 45 minutes in the waiting area. DW left her wallet at check-in, but she ran back in alarm and managed to find it. I also dragged 3 dozen soda cans, which we almost finished in the end. We were set to go to Lido for a bite, but our room was already ready so we headed straight there. On the way in, we met our friendly steward Marlon, whose space was right next to ours. His space allowed us to have the extra long balcony. I had assured my family that we had a balcony sufficient to hold all 8 of us, but they were not prepared for the huge size of the balcony. It easily holds 4 regular chairs and 2 lounge chairs. When they saw it, they all gasped and omg'ed. My DW said "Shut up!" to me in disbelief and we hi-fived. Pictures can be found elsewhere if you look for 6232 on the Carnival forum. Of course, we were still at the "Love Boat" terminal. We headed for early dinner and met our always-smiling waiter Siskrita, and his friendly assistants Donny and Sigit. Sigit and my niece quickly became fast friends. Ensendada Believe it or not, I was excited to see Ensenada as it was our first port and we had never been there. I was up at the crack of dawn to witness our approach to port. Luckily I had slept well the night before on the comfy bed, despite the hump between me and DW (no pun intended ). Ensenada was prettier than I expected, with mountains closer by the sea than most California cities. The industrial area was to one side but not too ugly. Below the ship, some sea lions frolicked. The workers had to shoo them away at the end of the day so they wouldn't be in the ship's way. My niece, nephew and his wife headed to town, while DW, sister and kids explored the ship. They did go to the little shopping area at the pier, where there's a small flea market and drinks for sale. We walked past the buses onto the highway, where kids ran up to sell us gum and adults were selling handmade bracelets. A block or two away, carriages await to show you the town. We headed toward El Centro and Hussong's, an old-time cantina with sawdust on the floor. We had a couple of their simple, cheap margaritas before heading out for lunch. The bartender referred us to someplace called "the black market", so we headed out to look for it in the direction he pointed us. We had a hard time finding it at first, I thought of asking one of the many local policemen but thought better of the idea. Instead, we asked a store clerk, and found out it was the fish market I had read of. I had read on here that the restaurants across the way were pretty good, so I asked the fellow above for a reference. We had some delicious fish tacos (including marlin, a meaty-tasting fish which I had never had before) and some large and delicious margaritas. We headed back for our 4 PM sail-off and stopped for another drink at the pier before getting back on board. We were able to watch the sun set as our ship set off on Christmas Eve. That night, DS and I checked out "Big Daddy"'s comedy show, which was good for a few laughs. My son got to hear about childhood discipline as practiced Down South. Christmas was a sea day and also our first elegant night. The day started with opening presents with the whole gang. We had room service sent up for breakfast with enough for 8. I liked the salmon, the kids appreciated the sugary cereals. We hung out near the pool, where they were demonstrating ice carving. They kids played in the pool and made friends. I had an anchovy pizza, it was OK but the cheese tasted cheap. The Reuben I had the first day was better, not to huge and nicely toasted. I had the prime rib for dinner-I'm not a big fan of prime rib, but it was all right. No lobster yet. Later, we saw Jazz Hot, a rather disjointed but energetic production that was entertaining most of the time. I was worried about the sound since the keyboards at sailaway show were badly distorted, but they sounded great. We were very impressed with the show band (led by Jessy D'Mello). Cabo Day 1 My nephew was keen to go snorkeling, he had tried it in Acapulco and liked it. I checked on tripadvisor and selected Ecocat, a large cataraman that would give a pretty smooth ride. They supplied flippers, goggles, etc. We tendered to the dock on the port's boats, which gave a more rocky ride. We then walked around the Cabo marina past the hawkers who were easily ignored. The marina is full of activity, including pelicans and sea lions, who like to hitch rides on boats sometimes. I asked for directions a couple of times until we found the Ecocat booking office and restaurant. I gave them our information and they gave us our boarding passes for the 11:00 tour (the ship moved forward an hour so we were already on local time). We had sodas and bought a few trinkets as we waited. We boarded and set sail for Chileno Bay, as the preferred location of Santa Maria was beset by too many jellies. We first got a tour of Los Arcos, which was pretty but the most interesting thing to me was all the boats buzzing around, it was quite active and exciting. DD couldn't really be coaxed in to the slightly chilly water, and I'm not the greatest swimmer so I only went in for a little while. I saw a few fish but didn't make it over the the main area where my sister and nephew spotted quite a few different types of tropical fish. DS braved the water for a few minutes, then I saw DW carrying him back while he cried loudly. I asked him what happened and he said "sea splinters!" It took me a minute to figure out that he had ventured into a jellyfish area that his mother was trying to coax him away from. Despite many of us getting stung a few times, we had a good time in the water and on the ship. They even let us have food and drink even though we hadn't paid for the all-inclusive package (but we didn't overdo it). On the way back, the friendly crew entertained us with some music. It was now time to head back out to sea until the next day in Cabo. I went to the casino with my nephew, where I made about $35 on the slots and roulette and my nephew won a little as well. Having spent time in Las Vegas, I knew it was better to quit when ahead so I stopped there. Cabo Day 2 DD wanted to swim with dolphins. Unfortunately, Carnival didn't offer the intermediate level at the Cabo dolphin center (at the marina), which was designed for kids who wanted a little dolphin ride. They only offered one that was in deep water for good swimmers, and a pet-the-dolphin thing for non-swimmers. Since they have a deal with Carnival, the center wouldn't allow us to book independently. She was a little disappointed to start, especially since she could see the other kids getting rides. Nevertheless, she really enjoyed petting and playing with them with DW. We were all satisfied with the experience, but we didn't go for pricey picture packages. The snorkelling yesterday was fun but the kids wanted beach time, so when we stepped out of the dolphin center, we asked some local police where we could hire a glass-bottom boat to Mendano beach. They said any of the hawkers right on the dock were OK, so I asked closest guy, a friendly man named Rafael. He wanted to take us to Los Arcos but we said we were meeting our family and would just go to Mendano. It was $3 PP each way. DS was excited about the glass-bottom boat, but I didn't tell him that you can't really see anything under the water (even a comedian on the ship made a joke about it). It was a fun but short ride to the beach. Rafael stopped the boat about 50 feet from shore and said OK, everyone jump out! I laughed but DW was flabbergasted as we were with two young children. She should have known better from our experience with long-tail boats in Thailand. Rafael laughed and took us right up to the beach, and helped us to get off without even getting our feet wet. He agreed to meet us at a preordained time, and to make sure we were on the same clock we synchronized our watches. The dropoff point was a way down from our destination, Mendano Beach Club, so we walked the quarter-mile or so along the beach. It was as lively as I had heard, and the water was the beautiful turquoise color that I had read of. Lunch at the Beach Club for 5 of us, including drinks, came to around $70 (the other family members couldn't find the Beach Club because the sign was obscured). The food and drink was fresh and flavorful. I sat in the shade as the others played in the water. The temperature was fine and the waves were gentle. DW was nervous about getting back on time, but I had heard that the boats are very reliable and indeed Rafael was there waiting at the appointed time at the end of the beach. I enjoyed Cabo but probably wouldn't want a week there. A weekend or cruise stop is fine. It was about at this time that I finally got around to going to Guest Services to complain about a noisy locking mechanism in our door. It had been clicking loudly every minute or so while the ship was in motion but I didn't know if it was a normal noise for a cruise along with the other groans and shaking. It wasn't interfering with sleep too much though. They said they would send someone shortly and fixed it while we were at dinner. I noticed that our neighbor also was complaining to maintenance about some noise from the door. They left a message telling us the repair was done, and let them know if we needed anything else. Unfortunately they called again to check when DW was sleeping. Oh well, I gave them points in their survey for fixing it and following up. It was time to head to Puerto Vallarta. Apparently the hypnotist missed his flight, so that show was postponed. Stu did the Newlywed Game thing in the Pharoah's lounge, but my niece and I headed to a very crowded Versailles room for the Punchliner comedy show with Seth Buchwald. He did relationship type jokes, my niece thought he was hilarious. I thought his jokes were good, even if they covered familiar territory for comedians, and his timing and adlib abilities were well-polished. He was just abrasive enough to be edgy, without being annoying. I also finally found the gingerbread houses, tucked away above the lobby. Puerto Vallarta Next up is our family favorite, Puerto Vallarta. It's the whole package, great food, nice weather, beaches, friendly people, and unique shopping (we especially like the Huichol art). Excitedly, I was up early to walk around the upper decks and watch the ship pull in to port through the haze, watching the hotel towers get closer. I sure could feel the humidity now. The port area is much improved from our previous visit a few years ago, when it was pretty much just dirt and pavement. The little flea market was still there. We love Las Caletas (a little beach excursion), but with limited time we just headed to the Malecon (boardwalk) to walk to the Romantic Zone. We took one of the white vans on the pier for $3 each for the 8 of us. It dropped us off at the north end of the Malecon, which had been recently beautifully rebuilt into a pedestrian corridor. The kids were dying to go in the water but it's not safe on this part. Instead we walked down the half-mile or so to the church, shopping and looking at the statues and sand castles. I like going into the Huichol gallery there, going into the back room, and flipping on the black light. There's glowing beaded statues, god's eyes, and fabric arts. We were getting hungry already so after checking out the church (which was packed with people attending a service) and getting some more pesos, we looked for a place to eat. Unfortunately the place we liked best, Cafe de Olla, was still to far, so we picked a place near Sr. Frogs. I don't remember the name, but it was Mexican place that you have to walk up stairs past an Irish pub, of all things. I think the name of the restaurant was Villa Vallarta. Instead of the fish tacos I had everywhere in Baja, I had spicy beef a la diabla (darn,forgot to look for posole!). It was pretty good, especially with the $8 bottomless margarita. Everyone enjoyed their meal, including the vegetarians who had plenty of choices. We made our way down to the market and crossed the rickety bridge to the island in the river. There's lots of interesting little shops in the area, including some tamarind-based sweet shops on the street pictured above. There is a large 2-level flea market with lots of souvenirs. The island itself has some nice artists working (I was very impressed by some of it) as well as the incredibly tacky t-shirts that I had forgotten were there from my last visit. We saw a huge iguana sitting up in a tree. We went downriver to the beach, I remembered that the beaches were better at the south end and you could rent an umbrella there. We stopped at the first place with a safe beach, Los Abuelos. It was full but they built some plastic tables on the spot for us for $15. We ordered drinks and the kids played in the sand. Later we went in the water, it was still rough where we were but farther down the beach is was quite calm for swimming. The beach was really hopping since lots of Mexican families were there on their holiday break. It was a very festive atmosphere. The water was warm enough but the air got cooler in the late afternoon. DD enjoyed the grilled tuna on a stick. She ate the whole thing and some of a second, which I finished off. Our time in PV was much too short for us. We took two cabs back to the pier and hung out a bit before getting back on. Back on the boat, I went to the juggling show. He told some jokes about the ports and cruise ships, then juggled balls, sometimes in large numbers. I liked the jokes but the juggling wasn't that spectacular, especially from the balcony. He made juggling look easy, which is too bad because he also made it look boring. Manzanillo Manzanillo was probably the highlight of our stops. DD had seen a movie called "The Last Song", a tearjerker staring Miley Cyrus, and loved it. When Hannah Montana wasn't chasing boys, she was trying to protect some baby turtle eggs from critters and helping the babies get to the ocean. I came across the fact that there was a turtle sanctuary near Manzanillo, so I looked for an excursion to see the babies. There's a standard tour called "Turtles and Mangroves" which takes you to the sanctuary as well as a boat ride through a nearby lagoon. Unfortunately, Carnival didn't offer this so I selected lujotours.com from recommendations here and on tripadvisor. They quoted me $60 pp for the 5 of us (my family plus my sister). Despite the early hour (before 7 ship time), I couldn't resist watching us pull in to the last foreign port. Manzanillo is the largest port on Mexico's west coast, and there are some smokestacks in the distance, but the appearance is otherwise of a small, scenic Mexican city, much smaller than Puerto Vallarta. The town itself is in reasonably good shape, and the roads are excellent. Apparently it is very safe as well, and some of my relatives spent the day exploring it on foot (there wasn't much to see). There are some beaches a taxi ride away on the far side of the bay, as well as south towards the resort area of Las Hadas. We found Luis, our guide, waiting for us at the end of the pier at the appointed time. We climbed into his SUV and took the back road out of town. We stopped off at a fruit stand and he took us to the orchard behind. He showed us some of the local fruit, including huge jackfruit. We also saw guava, mango, bananas, and much more. Jackfruit is chewy and sweet. At the turtle sanctuary, about a 45 minute drive, we saw that there are also some iguanas. I noticed some fellow passengers there, who used a different tour company (no wonder they didn't get back to my email request). We went around back where there was a crocodile enclosure. Since it was hot and humid the croc was well hid in the muck. There was also a tank with some baby turtles for us to look at. They sure are cute, swimming around the huge tank as fast as they can. Luis had a surprise for us, he had arranged for us to release some of the baby turtles into the ocean. DD was in tears the night before; she was worried about the safety of the baby turtles, so I was glad she would have this experience. We followed the sanctuary guide with a bucket of turtles down to the beach. He drew a line in the sand and handed a baby turtle to each of us to "race" to the sea. They didn't need to be coaxed, they ran as fast as they could into the surf. Luckily they all made it in! They showed us some mature sea turtles, which are kept there to show visitors what they look like fully grown. At that time they were changing the water in the tanks. Steps away from the visitor's center, we boarded some motorboats for our jungle cruise. We sprayed the kids with mosquito spray but DD still got a few nasty bites. We headed into Cuyutlan lagoon toward some mangrove swamps. On the way were some lily pads. Great blue herons rested under the trees. My sister is a birder, so she was delighted by all the egrets, herons and eagles. There was a baby croc resting near a tree branch. We had asked Luis for a little beach time, which isn't part of the regular tour. He took us to the little old beach town of Cuyutlan. it was a popular resort around 100 years ago, but declined after the railway was extended to Manzanillo. Luis bought us lunch at the Hotel Feliz, a friendly place filled with Mexican families on holiday. It's a charming old place a block or two from the beach. I had some Shrimp a la diabla, and everyone enjoyed their meals. We made our way to the beach. The normally sleepy town was filled with holiday visitors. The sand is black due to the local volcanoes. The kids played for a while until the lifeguard whistled everyone back. The undertow can get rough here. There were some public showers behind the beach to clean off the black sand. Then we headed back on the freeway route to Manzanillo. Luis apologized for the bad holiday traffic, there was about 10 cars in front of us in the toll plaza. I let him know that being from the Bay Area, this was a breeze! It was a quick 20 minute drive back to the ship. My nephew did the Colima tour with the pre-Columbian ruins. He enjoyed it greatly, he really wanted to see some ruins and that was his best chance on the west coast. He was just a little disappointed that it wasn't used for human sacrifice, since it wasn't a Mesoamerican culture. We missed some excitement back on the boat. Apparently someone was playing ping pong a little too enthusiastically and fell through the glass down on to a lounger on the lido deck below. I don't know what became him, the ship was a little late out of port so I don't know if he made it back on board or had to stay in the hospital. Later that night, we went to see Keith Turner in the Shanghai room. It looks kind of like an old school Chinese restaurant. The place was pretty empty for most of the time. We had heard that he makes it hard for people to sing along, and it's true that he would only occassionally pass the mike to a guy who was also a good singer. He would play most of our requests. I thought I would have a little fun, and requested "Natural Woman". He said that he would sing only sing the verse and I would have to sing the chorus. OK, I said to his surprise, so when I sang it, I pointed to DW and sang, "IIIII make you feel, IIIII make you feel, IIIII make you feel like a natural woman...." This got laughs from everyone, and I pointed out to Keith that he could expand his repertoire greatly by using this technique. Later, we went to the hypnosis show with Jac Rene. I was amused, but not overly impressed since I had seen hypnosis many years before with such greats as the "Hip Hypnotist" and the Amazing Kreskin. DS, however, was almost rolling on the floor with laughter to see adults acting so silly. We were heading out of the tropics already, so I thought I would take advantage of the weather while it was still warm. I finally went down the now-gone waterslide. Unfortunately I didn't get another chance as every time I went back it was closed due to wind. I also noticed that the adjacent kiddie play area (which I had never noticed before) was starting to disappear in preparation for drydock. I played some trivia in the lounge, came close but didn't win each time. DS was with me and I helped him make friends with another boy his age. The 8 of us met in the quiet Jungle lounge to chat, I think that a reason that it isn't heavily trafficked is that it is in the front of the ship. It is both out of the way and highly affected by ship movement. There was a Tea Time in the MDR that day. Only nephew's wife and DD wanted to join me. We were by the aft windows. It was OK, they just gave you a tea bag and a cup of hot water as they always do. You could have a teapot if you requested it. The snacks were OK, the macaroons were best. It wasn't as authentic as the tea we had at San Francisco's Dickens Fair, but it was very relaxing. It was the second formal night. People were even more dressed up than the first one, I saw a lot of tuxes and most men were wearing jackets. Not me, I had just a tie and so I felt a little underdressed. I'll talk more about the food separately, but I was satisfied overall. It was great to see everyone dressed up, I must admit. The show was Big Easy, which really is spectacular and even a little frenetic. I appreciate the energy of the performers, who were pretty good if not perfect. The sets are great. I liked the singer who looked like Liza more than the one who looked like Barbie (Stephanie and Lauren, don't know which is which). David and Scott were both good as well. The second show was cancelled for some reason, maybe increased ship motion. There were a lot of disappointed people as that show wasn't rescheduled. Going back to last night, the 30th, DD really likes dance parties (OK me too), so we went to one hosted by Stu on the Lido. I had sworn that I would never do anything as silly as a conga line. It seemed as corny to me as putting a lampshade on my head. Nevertheless, egged on by Stu, DD and I jumped at the end of the line, which was handled expertly by the crew. The line curved around and around in the small Lido section. There was not dancing involved as in the old movies, it was mainly a matter of trying not to get run over by the people behind you. My sister was nice enough to buy some tattoos for DD. DD was nervous because she thought that they would be using a needle, but was brave enough to go ahead. She was quite relieved when she found out that they would be painted on. In the afternoon they held the guest talent show. The singers were pretty good, including the guy we had seen singing in the Piano lounge. went up to the top decks a various times to look for sea creatures. I saw a couple of whales spouting, various mantas jumping into the air, and a pod of several dolphins following the ship for a time. Finally, the night I had been waiting for... Lobster night! Oh, and it was New Year's Eve, so they also distributed party hats and noisemakers at the table. Looking for something to do after dinner, we headed for the showroom to find it mostly empty. They started a game show, so I volunteered and didn't win. My nephew did the next game, he was way ahead when the MC decided to mix things up to make the score more even. This enraged DS who thought it was totally unfair. He had to be comforted by DW who tried to tell him the game is just for fun. Eventually my nephew came in second, but since he was actually leading until his score was changed, he got a ship on a stick as well. We all cheered him and DS calmed down a bit. We sat outside the piano lounge and listened to the excellent show band that was playing therein. Some of us went in to dance now and then. It was around 11 when we saw the sparkling wine starting to be distributed. I got to hand it to them, they really let the stuff flow. There were waiters everywhere carrying trays of flutes and handing them to anyone with empty hands. That worked out well for me because they kept handing out glasses to my teetotalling relatives, who then handed them off to me (yes, that means that I usually had two glasses in my hands). The hour was approaching, so we headed back to the lobby for the countdown. The cover band was very good. Stu did the countdown and the balloons dropped. A few minutes later, the band (Music Society, all Filipino!) were singing Hava Nagila and a hora erupted. It was fun but tomorrow was debarkation so we headed off to sleep. "Psst.... Wake up, wake up...." Stu whispered quietly as I lay awakening. Of course, I didn't roll over to find Stu in place of DW, because I knew that that's how they get you out of your room at the end of the cruise. Despite staying up late, I had again woken up a little early. We had left our bags outside the door to be picked up the night before, so we got dressed and headed up to Lido for breakfast to wait for our number to be called. At around 10 we were called and dragged our carryons down the elevators and the ramp out. Since we zipped by our Canadian relatives who had to wait in a separate line, we waited outside the terminal for them to get out. I had time to go back to the Doubletree to get the van, too. We said our goodbyes and agreed we had a great time. My nephew said that he would cruise again, and my niece had already signed on to a cruise on a different line. Food Since we were traveling with a large group, we at in the MDR each night. It was nice having an 8 top that could seat us all. Overall, I enjoyed the food. I was excited to see the menus, that was a big factor in selecting the cruise. In retrospect, I think I was more excited about the appetizers, which looked like stuff I wouldn't have locally. The entrees were OK but didn't blow me away. I would compare them to something you might get from Trader Joe's: a cheaper cut of meat with a lot of seasoning to hide that. I'll go through them each below. We were disadvantaged in that they didn't have Kid's menus for some reason, so I had to prompt the children about their choices each night. They just wanted burgers each night, so we had to get them to get something different sometimes like pizza or something off the adult menu. We didn't push them though, and they really enjoyed the burgers and pizza. DS also loved the chicken strips and french fries. I have to agree that the fries were pretty good, as long as they were hot. The vegetarians in our group enjoyed their meals too, I didn't keep track but they were happy with the variety available. For breakfast, the kids had sweetened cereals most every day. We don't usually let them eat that stuff so they were very happy. The best bet for me was the omelet station, for a freshly made omelet with peppers and onions, or for eggs made to order. I was annoyed once, though, when the cook threw mushrooms in that I didn't ask for. The lines weren't too bad. I also liked the bagel and lox when we ordered the free room service. I did eat breakfast once in the MDR to try it, it was the only way to get french toast, which was OK. I did like the appetizers a great deal, and following what I had read here I wasn't shy about ordering multiples, usually 3. The portions were small enough to give a taste without feeling like I was overeating. I got to eat stuff I wouldn't normally order, like gazpacho, which was really good and fresh-tasting. When the waiter brought the plate, I had to explain to my tablemates that I would be getting the liquid in a moment, as I had seen from the photos here. The cured salmon was good but a little sweet for me, and I found that a lot of the appetizers tended toward sweet. The strawberry bisque was as good as I had heard, but I thought it was a bit of a cheat since it was essentially melted ice cream. I like cucumbers so I really enjoyed the cucumber soup, but the sushi isn't very impressive to a regular sushi eater. The Tom Kha Gai soup was about as good as I would expect from a Thai restaurant. When I got the smoked duck, I had forgotten what I had ordered, so my tablemates and I were trying to guess what it was! Eventually I remembered, but I like duck so I liked this as well. DW had the escargot, she enjoyed them so much she didn't dare any of the rest of us to try one. Same with the frog legs. The cherry soup was similar to the strawberry bisque, but I didn't mind. The seafood platter, with smoked salmon, shrimp and ahi tartare was good, I was glad to have some raw fish. The crab cake was also satisfying. The gazpacho blanco was tasty , and I didn't know there was another kind! I had the chance for more raw meat with the beef carpaccio, which was light and delicious. My first entree was the chicken a la greque. I felt guilty for ordering something so healthy for my first dinner, but it was OK for skinless chicken. As I said before, I'm not a big prime rib fan, but it was good enough for what it was. I'll have to try it at someplace fancy like House of Prime Rib to see what it really could be. I like lamb, so I enjoyed the heart leg/rack combo. The flat iron steak was not as bad as some have said, it wasn't too chewy or gristly, it was lean yet tender. However, even though I like steak, I wouldn't order this in a restaurant. The NY strip was quite good, it's my favorite cut and it was done right, and with a good peppercorn sauce. It was a decent size as well. I also had the filet/short rib combo, I know it's to save money, but I didn't mind as the short rib was good, and and interesting contrast to the filet. The jerk pork surprised me, I had jerk before and wasn't too impressed but this tasted flavorful and the sauce went well with the humble pork chop. Finally, the lobster wasn't the best I'd every had, but hey! It's lobster! So I enjoyed it, in fact I made sure I got 2 or 3 to fill me up (another tip from CC). I'm not a big dessert eater but I did make room every meal (except after the lobster on the final night, my stomach gave up). The chocolate melting cake really was delicious, DD ordered it almost every night. The creme brulee is a nice treat, it is made in a wide cup so you get a lot of sugar on top. The bitter and blanc was good for something different. It's a bread pudding with vanilla sauce. The food was probably as good as it could be, given the institutional setting and the less-expensive ingredients usually used. It came out warm, if not hot, and tasted fresh. The meats were cooked properly and were tender. I also tried the bacon mac and cheese, DS likes mac and cheese but passed it over to me. He had picked off most of the bacon before I got to it, but I wasn't impressed. I found it a bit thin but I like my mac and cheese to be more like cheese with macaroni. I also didn't like that they threw a chicken breast on top to make it an entree. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I would like to share my experiences and thoughts about my recent cruise with Carnival. This was a significant celebration for me as I turned 50 years old. Achieving this stage of my life commanded an extraordinary trip. In my plans, ... Read More
I would like to share my experiences and thoughts about my recent cruise with Carnival. This was a significant celebration for me as I turned 50 years old. Achieving this stage of my life commanded an extraordinary trip. In my plans, I wanted to do something exciting and new, therefore, a 15 day Carnival Cruise to Hawaii was a perfect. The main reason for choosing Carnival was for its reputation of being a fun and energetic cruise line. Well, I have never been so disappointed in my life, what a way to celebrate a milestone in my life. Embarkation The San Pedro port was something to desired. We were herded like cattle! I was traveling with a person who had VIP status(18 cruises on Carnival). There was no VIP treatment at this port. All the so called VIP's were placed in a small room with Nothing to Drink or Eat for hours! I do understand the ship was delayed due to weather, but Carnival needed to address that issue and did nothing! I felt as if I was being segregated for processing at a concentration camp. A general announcement about boarding was made and there was a mass rush to the boarding area. There was no representative from Carnival to escort us (VIP's)to the ship. We were in the middle of mass chaos with no organized leader. I was never so disillusioned by a company that is known for its reputation of being fun and exciting. This gets the letter grade F. Stateroom I do have to say the staterooms were very clean and our cabin steward was very friendly. Grade A. Dining The food was average but the wait staff was excellent, very friendly and accommodating. C+ Activities This cruise was clearly geared toward a senior group. There was nothing for a younger crowd. Making luggage tags or putting puzzles together during the Sea Days were the activities for the day. As for the Cruise Director, the only time he was seen was on stage at night. He needed to work a bit harder to keep the passengers busy during the bad weather days that kept us from enjoying the sun on the deck. As for the time on the Islands, there was clearly not enough time. There should have been at least two over night stays. Very rushed, not my idea of a vacation! Grade F. Staff & Service My unpleasant experience continued the first night in the cabin. I did not sleep at all that night due to a very annoying agitating high pitch whistle coming from the balcony door. The door was warped and not making a complete seal, allowing air to enter the cabin causing the whistle. In addition, because there was air coming into the cabin through the balcony door, it also permitted cigarette smoke from adjacent balconies to fill the cabin with toxic cancer causing smoke. It took nine days for the whistle from the balcony door to be fixed, 8 days of high pitch whistle all night long with the smell of cigarette smoke filling the room. We had to endure the smell of cigarette smoke for the entire 15 day cruise, this was unacceptable. As you can see in the picture #1, I had to have a large supply of Benadryl (which I purchased on board at 3 times the retail price!) in order the prevent myself from going to the infirmary for my severe allergic reaction to cigarette smoke. When I made a statement to Guest Services about the cigarette smoke, they told me that nothing could be done. I find it disturbing that the health of a passenger is so easily dismissed and the rights of the smokers take precedence. With all of the current smoking regulation I am disappointed to see that Carnival gives priority to smokers on their ships. Dividing the ship in half does not prevent the smoke from blowing into the faces of the nonsmokers on the other side of the ship. In addition, the intake for the HVAC system is drawling the smoke directly into the ship and this should be addressed and changed, ( suggestion, make the fantail the smoking area, this way the smoke will blow behind the ship and not affect the non-smoking passengers. Although, Joan Sterling wanted to give us a down grade in room location (room in the back of the boat that was very noisy with vibration from the engine room or a room below the noise of the Lido Deck. We booked a balcony cabin on this deck in order to be quiet and convenient. Downgrading was not an option, again, this was only offered after the fourth day of my continuing complaint. We did receive a small rebate on the room, however, it did not make up for the aggravation and loss of valuable vacation time. On one occasion, the Stateroom Supervisor taped up the door to balcony. I spent 7 hours of my valuable and special vacation visiting the Guest Services Desk, talking to the Stateroom Floor Supervisor and calling before Joan Sterling did anything to correct the problem. Spending my valuable vacation time dealing with this issue made me very angry, agitated and tense, preventing me from relaxing and enjoying my vacation. I felt like I was working at my Job dealing with engineering problems. This gets a triple F! In fairness the staff worked very hard keeping the ship very clean and the dining staff and bar staff were very friendly. Grade A. Entertainment The evening shows were average to below average. There was one evening that there was nothing scheduled. They get a C- . Shore Excursions Did not book through the ship, prices were overpriced. Booked our own, saved 75%. Grade F Disembarkation Disembarkment, very disorganized, took hours to get off the ship, again, VIP status meant nothing, corralled in the Cool Lounge, very hot, one passenger was smoking a cigar in the Cool Lounge, this should be Smoke Free during disembarkment, here again, the non-smokers rights have been violated. Grade F Summary In conclusion, I am very disappointed in Carnival Cruises. My 50th birthday celebration was flawed with multiple short comings caused by the lack of attention to details, disorganization, and the unconcerning attitude for the rights of nonsmokers. I will never go on a Carnival Cruise again. Carnival has Failed! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We sailed the Carnival Spirit round-trip from Los Angeles (San Pedro) to Hawaii 12/02/11-12/17/11. We had sailed the same ship 12 days from Honolulu to Vancouver in 2004. This was my 13th Carnival cruise and 31st cruise overall. ... Read More
We sailed the Carnival Spirit round-trip from Los Angeles (San Pedro) to Hawaii 12/02/11-12/17/11. We had sailed the same ship 12 days from Honolulu to Vancouver in 2004. This was my 13th Carnival cruise and 31st cruise overall. Generally, we had a good time. We met some really nice folks, enjoyed our Cruise Critic get-togethers, loved most of our port time and had a great vacation. However, we were disappointed in the food and entertainment as compared to our other cruises. This was the 3rd time we've cruised between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the 3rd time we've said we don't want to do that again -- it just takes too much away from our holiday and family celebrations. Embarkation was delayed because the ship arrived into port late. We were at the Crowne Plaza -- in a harbor view suite specifically to watch the ship come in, but we kept waiting. Finally went to the front desk to ask and they checked some monitor and told us we'd be able to see it in 6 minutes (not kidding...and we did). Got great pictures as the ship sailed by. As "platinum" guests, we were in Zone 1, but boarded at 1:35. Debarkation was also seemed late. We were group #1 and didn't get to LAX until almost 11:30. I sure hope nobody booked an early flight home. We like the layout of the Spirit. Most of the indoor public areas are on Decks 2 & 3 which makes it pretty easy to find our way around. Deck 9 has the pools (one of which can be under cover) and casual dining. We booked an 8A balcony #4209 because the 3 staterooms forward of it have windows that don't open, hoping that our balcony could be enjoyed without smoke; this was a great plan and worked smashingly -- especially since our neighbors to the aft also did not smoke. Our stateroom was also very convenient to the aft elevators / stairs. We booked early dining and were assigned table #102 for 12 guests, by a starboard window. Being next to a wall, was a bit of a disappointment (felt a little closed in and far away from the dining room dancing / singing), but did facilitate table conversation. I don't even know our waiter's name (and it was a 15 night cruise), but we adored our assistant waiters "Jovy & Zeljko". It seems that Carnival is giving the waiters more tables and more assistants. Service was somewhat slow at times, but again we were assigned very pleasant dinner companions and we made good use of the time. I must say that we were disappointed in the new menus. We really missed the nightly option of shrimp cocktail and found many of the selections ranged from a bit odd to downright disgusting. We never went hungry and enjoy most of what we ordered, but would have preferred the original options. Some of the combinations were really bizarre! Peas with raisins??? Mashed potatoes with tomato sauce on top??? Seafood Newberg that used to be shrimp, scallops and lobster was primarily mussels (yuck) that weren't even listed on the menu. Please bring back the old menus. Our disappointment was shared by our dinner companions and the majority of the guests with whom we chatted throughout the cruise. We had breakfast on the Lido Deck most days and found very little variety. We were disappointed that they no longer offer corned beef hash up there, so we went to the dining room for it (specifically) a few times. Lunch was split between the two options (and a few days in port). A few times it was really good, but most of the time nothing special in either venue. Entertainment was likewise somewhat disappointing. When we sailed the Spirit from Honolulu, our CD, Michael Mullane, did an amazing job organizing wonderful entertainment and activities for the older demographic on this cruise. This time, CD was Australian Stu Dunn. We enjoyed his presentations and found him to be very personable, funny and outgoing. The production shows (3 of them during our 15 night sailing) were awesome! The last one "Big Easy" was amazing! But the entertainment they brought on for our cruise was NOTHING compared to last time. We had 4 comedians over the course of the cruise: lousy, poor, OK, and pretty good. We actually went to 3 of the shows by the "pretty good" comedian (Merl Hobbs) because there were so few options on board. One of the shows was listed as El Gaucho -- nothing else -- no description of what "El Gaucho" was supposed to be or do. This is likely because they didn't know...we went to the show (and walked out) and we still don't know. But I do know it was awful -- not funny -- not entertaining -- and the Spirit should be embarrassed to call this one of their evening shows. Then there was a pathetic juggler and a hypnotist we decided not to bother with. They did bring on a very good trumpeter (who was an OK vocalist), presenting it as "swing" music. By sheer coincidence we saw her again -- like 4,000 miles away at Epcot -- the day after we disembarked. Daytime activities included the typical games and lame trivia contests (but came home with 5 "ships on a stick" because there was little else of interest). The "ballroom dance" lessons were provided by one male; last time on the Spirit they had two couples teaching lessons and it was awesome. One male teaching ballroom makes no sense at all. They had a couple contracted to do the crafting with some simple supplies and lessons; lots of passengers showed up for these, but I think Carnival could do much more with this option. "Dirk" was the naturalist on board and this was a nice addition to the daytime line-up. We were able to attend only the first presentation, but watched the others on TV. They did show a big screen movie at 4pm each day, but no new releases. We booked the "Behind the Fun" tour and enjoyed it very much. Our tour guide did a great job! We loved seeing the crew areas. Hubby enjoyed the engine room, but was a little frustrated that the engineer struggled with the English to answer his questions. The captain was very personable in meeting him on the bridge. It seems to me that amenities used to be nicer, but we got the photos, a drawstring bag, ball cap and lanyard. On being Platinum...we got stationary (no use for it, but did bring it home). We ate a couple of the hors d'oeuvres and petit fours, but not much. I'll certainly use the lunch bags more than we ever used the thermos. But for this 15-night cruise, the laundry service was very helpful. However, if we ever book Carnival again, I'll plan an all-gray wardrobe as everything came back from the laundry gray. Why did I pack nice new underwear and socks?? And my favorite white top will never be the same. Carnival is not responsible for the weather, but that was also disappointing. Well, actually I rather expected the Pacific transit to be lousy weather because I have done it before and it lived up to my expectations. I packed layers and needed them. But if entertainment and activities had been better, I wouldn't have minded the cold, cloudy, drizzly days. We did get sunshine the last two days of the cruise. I wrapped up in a sweater, sweatshirt, windbreaker with hood and a couple beach towels so I could relax on my smoke-free balcony I had so looked forward to. The slot machines hated me on this cruise (and the feeling was pretty much mutual), but the casino was SO MUCH NICER with smoking limited. Smoke in other areas seemed much easier to avoid on this cruise, too. The last day was actually sunny so we decided to have some chaise time on the Lido Deck. All on the smoke-free side were taken, but most were empty on the smoking side. We saw one guy pull one over, so we did the same. Shortly afterward another couple pulled two chaises over. I know it meant more work for the deck crew, but ultimately Carnival will get the message (nice improvements in this regard). It was cold, windy and rainy for our 1st port-of-call, Hilo. Just our luck, we had booked a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian for that day...for $722 (three of us). I wish they had cancelled the trip for weather, but we climbed aboard. I paid for the "eco star" because it was supposed to be a quieter, smoother ride with better visability. The vibration was unbelievable! I tried to take comfort in the fact that pilot seemed not to be concerned about it, but whole thing was shaking like crazy. They made me check my purse or I would have popped a (very bitter) Xanax even without water. Pilot did a good job narrating the flight -- we did see lava flowing and learned a bit about it. Hubby and I were in the back seat and really could see only out the side windows (front windows obstructed by other passengers, but also rain on windshield). Other couple in back seat were equally frustrated with limited visability and quite vocal about it. I spent most of the flight praying for it to be over. A helicopter flight is now checked off the bucket list. (If it had been good weather and we had a front seat, it would likely have been a much better experience). Maui was amazing. We booked the "Road to Hana" with Adventure Maui and our driver, David, did an incredible job. He was very welcoming upon picking us up at the pier just after 8am and continued his enthusiastic tour until he dropped us off at 6pm. What incredible views he shared with us, along with a wealth of knowledge and a pleasant picnic lunch. This was a great experience! We've been to Honolulu many times and have successfully used their bus system (rented a car a few times, but parking / traffic always an issue). So we decided to take the bus out to Disney's new resort "Aulani". Big mistake. Took us 4 hours and miles of walking on top of two bus rides. We paid $70 for a cab back. We booked "Paradise Cove" luau through the ship for that evening. I'll be darned if the bus to "Paradise Cove" didn't take us right back out to the same resort area...from which we could see "Aulani". We bought the luau tickets when Carnival was offering 15% off shore excursions...darned good thing because it was so not worth it. First of all, it was a long flippin ride ($70 by cab) and we had to go both ways...again. We had a friendly, but very talkative, silly tour guide who wanted audience participation while we are crammed like sardines in this bus. Tickets included 3 drinks, but to get a good drink cost $4 extra -- each -- plus tip. It was a LONG evening with a few booths of activities but totally drawn out. Paradise Cove is on an amazing setting with a beautiful view and sunset, but the evening is way too long for what is offered. The actual show was maybe an hour and pretty entertaining (great costumes). Food was so horrible, it's not even worth describing -- just blech! In summary, too far a drive, too boring an evening, disgusting "food" and not nearly enough alcohol. Honolulu was a bust. Kauai made up for it! We booked "tubing the ditch" with Kauai Backcountry and it was our very best excursion EVER! Our tour guides were Erin and Mike. It was great fun, informative, adventurous and breathtakingly beautiful. We rode these 6-wheeled vehicles up to the entry point, climbed in rubber tubes ("brisk" water, not permitted to say "cold") and rode through the most amazing experience. We went through 5 tunnels, one of which was mile long, enjoyed a few rapids and just the best experience. I would totally do this again and give it my highest recommendation. Our last port of call was Kona. We wanted to do something special because last time we hadn't done anything last time. Our tour was snorkeling in the harbor and cruising on a zodiak with "Sea Hawaii Rafting". We had a great time, beautiful weather, crystal clear water, cruised by some sea caves, saw lava tubes and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We are down to the last 5 sea days and hoping (to no avail) for better entertainment and food. It's just not gonna happen. We enjoyed the company -- got plenty of sleep (not much for entertainment) -- and did get a little sunshine. Enjoyed lots of reading, socializing, crafting and a little hot tub time. It wasn't the best cruise ever, but we were on a cruise and went to Hawaii, so it wasn't half bad either. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We sailed on the Carnival Spirit from San Pedro for 15 days to Hawaii. We had planned this trip for 1 1/2 years! Since we live in Az, we drove in a day early and stayed at the Doubletree in San Pedro, since they had a room/ parking ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Spirit from San Pedro for 15 days to Hawaii. We had planned this trip for 1 1/2 years! Since we live in Az, we drove in a day early and stayed at the Doubletree in San Pedro, since they had a room/ parking package. The hotel was fine and the package worked out perfectly for us. Embarkation was delayed until about 2:00 because the ship was delayed coming into port due of bad weather. I don't feel that they communicated information properly to keep us up to date with the delay. We sat in the terminal until called and when we got onto the ship, our room was ready! Not painful at all. The ship was easy to get around. Our cabin, 4141, had french doors looking in between life boats. It was PERFECT...the cost of an interior with fresh air and sunlight! The seas were quite rough for the first day-and-a-half because of high winds. Many people didn't feel well but fortunately, thanks to meclizine, we were fine! We felt that the activities were lacking. For having so many days at sea, I wish that there were more things offered...perhaps with a Hawaiian flare. The entertainment staff lacked enthusiasm, with the exception of the Cruise Director and the Asst Cruise Director. The evening entertainment was awful. While they had alot of music venues, the shows were either bad or non-existent (one night they had nothing offered!) The service on the ship was terrific. We had a wonderful cabin steward, Efron. Although we had Your Time Dining we found a "team" in the dining room that we liked, Thomson, Anjaya and Oleg, and we sat at their table for all meals in the dining room. The food was adequate. In the MDR, the starters were excellent, the entrees OK and the desserts terrific. We didn't enjoy the buffet because it was very hard to find an available table, especially at lunchtime and there were lines for most stations. The island were beautiful, although too cool for us! We golfed on Maui and Oahu, went mud buggying on Kauai (SOOOOOOOOOO much fun), snorkeled in Kona, and toured in Hilo (used Ricky's tours...he was informative and efficient). One disappointment that we had was that Carnival doesn't offer golf excursions in Hawaii, although the salesperson with Carnival told us that they would be added prior to our cruise. The fitness center was nice. The treadmills were located on a level above the hot tub, so it was really TOO HOT to work out comfortably. The outside walking track was closed most of the cruise because of high winds (in the AM when I work out). In summary, the cruise was good, not great. I would go on this cruise again, but might look into comparing the cost with other cruiselines, and perhaps spend a little more to go on a different line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
The ship was nice for it's age (10 years old) but time had left its mark on her. Most notably was the noise and vibration from the engines. I guess I have no one to blame but myself for not doing my homework beforehand. The cruise we ... Read More
The ship was nice for it's age (10 years old) but time had left its mark on her. Most notably was the noise and vibration from the engines. I guess I have no one to blame but myself for not doing my homework beforehand. The cruise we scheduled was apparently the last cruise before the ship's scheduled dry dock date. Therefore the vibration and noise were about as bad as anyone would imagine. I can only hope that once the ship leaves dry dock on 1/20/2012 that all of those issues will be resolved. The cabins showed signs of age as well, dented lamp shades and weathered balconies were the norm. The boarding process was horrible, taking several hours to board the ship. The workers seemed clueless as to the reason for the delays when approached. I could understand if the reason for the delays we security related, but the security station seemed to be the only smoothly run area. People were screened and processed in an organized and streamlined manner. Unfortunately the organization and streamlining ended there. Only after looking over the entire boarding procedure was it clear where their opportunities lie. The cruise line had set up what seemed like twenty agents to check in passengers and hand out room keys, yet they only had two or three working cameras set up for security photos. Needless to say with that many agents handing out room keys and only three working (one being held together with tape) security cameras, a natural bottle neck situation was created causing long delays and frustration amongst the passengers lugging around their carry on luggage and (non-checkable)cases of water. The boarding took so long that many passengers hadn't even reached their cabins before the muster drill was broadcast over the speakers, It was a mess. On a bright note the crew seemed to be experienced (with a few exceptions) and friendly. I believe the only problems I ran into with a crew member was with a particular Empire Room hostess at a lunch seating. She seemed to be distressed at the size of our party and seemed to want to seat us in various scattered sections of the room. When we stated that we would prefer to sit together she was a bit unprofessional in dealing with the situation. Other than that instance and the boarding fiasco the staff was pleasant and most were good at what they did. All in all it was a "family budget" oriented cruise for us and although it was far from a great cruise it was a nice cruise. The food was pretty good and we did our best to have fun, amongst the engine noise and vibration. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Back once again from our latest adventure. We choose the Carnival Spirit sailing to the Mexican Riviera over Thanksgiving holiday! As usual everything was delightful. Since our last sailing in April of 2011, there has been a couple ... Read More
Back once again from our latest adventure. We choose the Carnival Spirit sailing to the Mexican Riviera over Thanksgiving holiday! As usual everything was delightful. Since our last sailing in April of 2011, there has been a couple changes. In the staterooms there is a placard with your room steward listed. Which is nice. You always know who to contact. The menu in the main dining room has been changed up a little. There is no "spa" selection any longer, the good for you meals are now designated with a "heart" to the right of the entree. The food was not as delicious as normal, not bad, but not I remembered from past cruises. One of my favorites desserts is the souffle and after getting through the top, the filling was as delicious as I remembered. The service, as always, is the highlight of the cruise. Everyone always going out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome. We were seated next to the chronic complainers in the main diningroom, whom sent their selected entrees back nightly; but with all drama, the dining room staff went our of their way to make the chronic "b"ers happy - it didn't work, but you have to give it to the staff for trying. KUDOs to you!The drinks prices have been raised $1 per drink. The higher the drinks go, the lower my sign and sail account. I guess that is perspective. I just have to say that I enjoy sailing with Carnival - the overall experience is always wonderful. Stu the cruise director was very funny and it was nice to see him out amongst the people. We already booked for our next cruise in May 2012. Thank you so much for a delightful time once again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This was our third cruise on the Spirit (5th overall). Why Spirit? Because it is inexpensive and has a good itinerary. Otherwise, the ship experience itself is just ok. We were in three cabins (Wife and I in balcony, In-laws in a second ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Spirit (5th overall). Why Spirit? Because it is inexpensive and has a good itinerary. Otherwise, the ship experience itself is just ok. We were in three cabins (Wife and I in balcony, In-laws in a second balcony, and grown daughter and friend in an inside). The price was so good, it made for a very affordable vacation. THE SHIP. The ship is fine. All the of the public spaces are nice enough and a nice dining room. It has a fun water slide and mini-golf. Otherwise, there is nothing in particular to note. There is plenty of open deck space if you like to walk or jog. CABINS. Inside cabins feel spacious. Balcony cabins are well laid out. On the negative, smoking is allowed on balconies and if you are a non-smoker this can be a big negative if you have smokers below or beside you (as happened on our second cruise). Not as clean as it should be but ok. Too many dirty room service dishes in the hallway. FOOD. Notable decline over the last few years. Some was quite good, but many items were 'disappointing'. Afternoon Tea is disorganized (this is consistently the case). You feel like cattle. Buffet was fine. Lunch in the dining room is my favorite meal. It is quiet and the staff is in a good mood. STAFF. I have noticed a decline in moral of the crew also, especially in the dining room since the last cruise in 2010. ENTERTAINMENT. Listening to the cruise director on the speakers gets a little old after a couple of days. I don't need to hear about all the items on sale. I hate the shows in the main theatre. The comedians in the lounge are usually pretty good. EMBARK/DISEMBARK. Moves slow, but not too bad. On and off ship at ports is also fine with some lines. PORTS. (Ensenada, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo). To me, that is as much the reason for the cruise as anything. The ports were changed a couple months before sailing. I think it was due to problems in Mazatlan. If you are from California, you know that Ensenada is nothing to get excited about. It isn't even the Mexican Riviera. Shopping isn't very good. Some like to party. I like to get out of town. We really enjoy the Winery Tour. I've been on it twice. The wine isn't very good, but it is a pleasant excursion at a good price. Cabo San Lucas is mostly beaches and party. At minimum, do the Glass Bottom Boat to Lovers and Divorce Beach. Puerto Vallarta we did the Tequila Tour and enjoyed it very much, even though I don't even particularly like Tequila. Manzanillo is more tropical. One of the day trips to the interior will give you a good view of the real Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Booked this cruise for family visit -- one relative in LA and one was cruise staff. Flew to LA a day early and stayed at the San Pedro Inn & Suites, which was very economical, very satisfactory, and quite close to the San Pedro pier. ... Read More
Booked this cruise for family visit -- one relative in LA and one was cruise staff. Flew to LA a day early and stayed at the San Pedro Inn & Suites, which was very economical, very satisfactory, and quite close to the San Pedro pier. Took complimentary hotel shuttle at noon to the pier, and were aboard by about 1 p.m., having the benefit of VIP treatment. Really enjoyed the look and feel of the Spirit, and found almost all crew were excellent -- cheerful greetings in the corridors, etc. Had most lunches on Lido deck; the salad bar was a favorite of ours, but we used several other food stations as well. Dined in MDR (flexible time) every night except for one night in the premium Steak House. Most meals were excellent, although my wife may have had a bad reaction to the dessert cheese tray in the Steak House, forcing us to cancel a shore excursion the next day. MDR waiters Ponsak and Elena were especially good to us, as was the host Ekaterina (no maitre'd on second level). Ditto for Room steward Adul. For entertainment we saw all the music theatre shows which were great! Hypnotist was hilarious. Didn't care for Cruise Director Stu, whose jokes were repetitive and often tasteless. Theatre show staff (singers, dancers and musicians) were superb. Ports were Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The 2-wineries excursion at Ensenada was very enjoyable; probably not much else there to recommend. Just wandered around Cabo on day 1, but stayed on board day 2 due to illness. At Puerto Vallarta we did the Mismaloya & City tour, which ended with a buffet lunch at a restaurant tucked away in a little settlement south of town -- had a great time on this tour also. At Manzanillo we wanted some beach time, so took the City & Shopping Tour because it included lunch at a beach club with interesting sight-seeing along the way. Our LA port return was late as we waited for Disney Wonder to dock. All non-US passengers had to line up for security check in the theatre, starting at 6:30 a.m., but the ship didn't dock until 8 a.m., so everyone had to stand in line while CD Stu made repeated "Stu"pid announcements welcoming everyone to Honolulu. Not amusing. An announcement should have been made inform us not to line up until later. After the security check, we relaxed on deck until the last groups were called to debark about 11 a.m. Once we left the ship, we practically walked straight out and grabbed a taxi to my sister's home in LA, arriving in time for lunch. This was our first Pacific cruise, and we really like the overall ambience -- many health-conscious passengers, very courteous, etc. Weather was cool and windy for the northern section of the cruise, but very warm on the southern section, just what we came for. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I have taken only one other cruise - the first was with Holland America through the Mediterranean in 2009. That was the cruise of a lifetime so any comparison is unfair but unavoidable. I traveled with my 62 year old mother. We shared a ... Read More
I have taken only one other cruise - the first was with Holland America through the Mediterranean in 2009. That was the cruise of a lifetime so any comparison is unfair but unavoidable. I traveled with my 62 year old mother. We shared a stateroom on the first floor - called the "Riveria". The ship holds about 2400 passengers but never felt crowded. The activities weren't exactly my cup of tea but others seemed to enjoy them. There were quite a few kids on board but we found them rarely intrusive. Admittedly, we spent a lot of time at the Aft (kid free) pool area. The stateroom was nice enough. Three closets, one with shelving, a restroom with small shelves to hold our toiletries on either side of the sink. There were a few drawers on one side of the desk area and a mini-fridge which wasn't exceptionally cold but kept our drinks and yogurt cool enough. We did tip the room steward to empty the fridge and they did so with the exception of the mini liquor bottles which were in the door. Our room was well maintained with twice daily straightening, including the evening turndown and the always fun towel animals and complimentary chocolates. We could hear the constant rumble of the engines but we found it soothing and not bothersome at all. Also, though aft, we were equidistant between 2 elevators - very convenient! While the food was consistently good, it was not necessarily a highlight. We found that we preferred the Lido or the for breakfast and lunch and the dining room (as you wish) for dinner. We quickly fell in love with Cvetelina from Bulgaria and requested her each night. She made such efforts to make sure everything was perfect. By the third night we were hugging her goodbye. She is a truly sweet soul and made each evening a treat. We did have dinner at the Steakhouse one night. While not impressed with the starters (ahi tartar and a crab cake), the filet mignon and desserts were spectacular and worth the additional $30 per person. We took two ship excursions and planned the rest on our own. In Puerto Vallerta we joined the 3 bus tequila "factory" tour. In reality, this was a stop at two separate tequila tasting locations. The first stop was a pretty little space with really interesting botanicals. We saw a cacao plant a several vanilla plants too as well as blue agave and colorful flowers we had never seen before. The tequila was tasty enough and well priced. We tried a silver, Reposado and Anejo then three flavored tequila liquors - almond, peach and chocolate with coffee. The pours were generous and more than one person fell into a tequila stupor. The second location looked like a little hacienda. They also offered 3 tequila pours and then 3 flavored liquors. I liked the tequila at the first place best but became weary of the vendors hawking their shot glasses, silver and ceramics. I would note that there was an artist at the first location who did quite lovely and colorful scenes of local Mexican life. My mother fell in love with his work and had a long conversation with him about his art. Vincent the tour guide...or was it Victor? Spoke non-stop from the moment we left the port to the moment we returned. He focused on talking about his favorite foods, the history of Mexico and MAS TEQUILA! In any case - you definitely get what you pay for. Second tour was the Wine Tasting in Ensenada. We were deluged by rain that day and it definitely put a damper on the day...damper, get it? The first location was pretty and they offered delicious homemade bread, cheese and pizza as well as really interesting jams, pepper jellys, hot sauces and herbed olive oils. I didn't love the wine here and the tasting was pretty disorganized due to the rain but they made every effort to accommodate us. Second location offered fruity olive oil, delicious olives and more wine. I bought a couple of bottles of blanc di blanc - it was very tasty. Belina was our guide. She was very knowledgeable and friendly and did a great job. Entertainment was fine. I found the CD annoying but her staff was great. The game show, Superstar Singing and random 'Guess that Song" were fun. The shows were always enjoyable though I admit I didn't watch all of them. Embarkation was easy - the lines were a bit long at check-in at San Pedro but our rooms were ready once we boarded around 1:30 pm. Luggage was delivered within the next few hours. Debarkation began at 7:30 am and we finally walked out of the customs line around 10:30 am. It went smoothly. Overall the cruise was fun. Carnival takes pretty good care of their guests and a good time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This is my second time sailing Carnival Spirit, the first time was my 10th sailing, so this ship is a little more special to me than the others. Overall, this is my 14th cruise with Carnival Corp., so this won't be too long a ... Read More
This is my second time sailing Carnival Spirit, the first time was my 10th sailing, so this ship is a little more special to me than the others. Overall, this is my 14th cruise with Carnival Corp., so this won't be too long a review. I had always wanted to take a 9 day cruise, so I jumped at the chance to take this one when I saw it, and glad I did. Since I have been to all these ports before at one point or another, this was just a relaxation cruise for me. A few things that stood out as far as change is, that I noticed that in the stateroom, there is now a name plate near the door with the stateroom stewards name posted. I thought this is a great idea, since I have a hard time remembering names. Also, on the menu's, you get your favorite foods on a daily basis, such as those comfort foods, so more choice there to be had. Also having read about the new Red Frog Pub Beer, I just had to try it - I thought it was a real nice beer, but didn't stand out too much for me anyway, but it was nice. I had always prided myself in being easy going, and easy to please with no drama on my vacations, and not complaining about much if anything. BUT, In the 14 cruises I have taken, one of the roaming bar servers in the casino finally broke the string - I had filed a complaint with him to the Bar Manager. This guy was so rude, and so pushy. Since I boarded, he has hounded me about getting drinks, and each time I even approached the casino, he comes up to me asking what I wanted to drink. Now I know its a business, and they are taught to be a little aggressive, but when I'm sitting down playing blackjack, and get poked with his finger to my back a couple times, that was it. My boss doesn't poke me in my back, and this guy sure isn't going to either, while I"m on vacation no less! Anyway, I heard thru another bar server who I have told about this guy, that he had gotten a good talking to, and since then that guy didn't bother me again. This cruise was also the first one that featured a female cruise director, and I thought she did a good job. While doing the Behind The Fun Tour, I was surprised that her cabin which I saw was so close to the bridge. It was just past the employees only door, so the protected zone. Also noticed, that beer bottle prices for domestic were outrageous, its like Beverly Hills prices. Needless to say, I used the port stops to drink up there, on the cheap! On this cruise, I had the cat. 4K room, which is the french door obstructed view, I would not suggest you get this room type of you are not a sound sleeper. At night when you notice it more, the door squeeks and rattles with the movement of the ship. So it doesn't bother me, when I sleep, I sleep. Since I have never had a true regular balcony room, I don't know if its like that also. I also had the french doors on my first spirit cruise, same thing. But one thing I can say, stateroom #4122 had the best view, between the two life boats, not bad at all. I understand Spirit will be re-located to Australia soon, and what a great carnival ship to represent the company. I always loved spirit class ship, they are not too small and not too big.. And they have that long sleek sexy look to them. Gonna miss her. Our west coast will now be spirt-class-less soon! Well one more tidbit before letting you move on here... This ship used the San Pedro port, and I haven't sailed out of here since my first carnival cruise on the Holiday. I've got to say, its a very easy port to sail out of, its very huge building, tons of parking very close by, and a huge VIP waiting area. I actually prefer it better than Long Beach. Oh another tidbit, thought it was odd, that carnival let the mexican dock workers onboard for the breakfast buffet in Manzanillo, guess the strict no visitors policy and be stretched. Overall, another great Carnival Cruise! Its so hard to convince others who have not cruised before how good and value wise it is. They all think I'm nuts for taking 14 cruises, but you my friends, understand :) Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Background; 2nd Mexican Riviera cruise and 2nd on Carnival Spirit.3rd Carnival cruise.8th cruise.Just the wife and myself again.Booked late and were rewarded w/ a lg inside w/ french doors.No view but allowed air inside and was largest ... Read More
Background; 2nd Mexican Riviera cruise and 2nd on Carnival Spirit.3rd Carnival cruise.8th cruise.Just the wife and myself again.Booked late and were rewarded w/ a lg inside w/ french doors.No view but allowed air inside and was largest inside cabin ever. Embarkation; flew in same day to LAX.Like San Diego port much better.Long slow process.From start to on board approx 1 hr.But pretty painless! Cabin; as above, a large inside.Bed was too firm and cabin steward did his best to add some padding which helped but still too firm Carnival.Spirit needs same bedding as the Valor.Stewart Efran was superb!!Always clean and towel animals every night. Ship;no change since Dec 2010 cruise.Starting to show her miles.No complaints.Staff cleaning in all area's and doing a good job.Drinks went up another $1 pretty much across the board.Give me a break Carnival, $6 for a domestic beer and only $2 off a "bucket" of 4???As stated last year, the cruise industry needs to understand many folks like myself will spend 2-3 x's the money on alcohol if it is more reasonable in price and we chose again to wait for the ports to do any serious drinking. Food; very similar to last year w/ a few surprises (frog legs,alligator,venison)and we felt the main dining room food was excellent w/ a good variety.We found the buffet to be good overall and did not use any upscale restaurants.Excellent pizza,good sushi,and will miss my morning omelet. Entertainment;main shows in theater similar to last year.Saw the night time comics every night and they were the hit for us and very funny!Could have had the band play a little more on deck but we stayed entertained. Ports;Manzanillo: went to the beach, water murky but very warm.Town seemed dirty and busy and not what we expected.Puerto Vallarta: again did excursion off ship (dolphin/snorkeling) out in bay to islands.Good snorkeling,beautiful islands/beach, good food, and great time overall w/ good value for the money.Cabo: what a great place!Took another excursion from vendor on marina to Chileno Bay, open bar there and back,incredible snorkeling,superb food cooked in front of us, what a great time we had.4 hrs at Lovers beach, time share presentation,several true "buckets" of cervezas, warm and sunny.Ensanada: rained the entire day, took bus to see the water spout and braved the onslaught of vendors there, then walked around main shopping area for a bit before heading back to ship to try and dry out.Hey Carnival, how about going back to Le Paz?? Debarkation; elected for latest time off as flight was not till 6 pm.No complaints as is a process to get everyone off. Overall; was our 1st repeat cruise/ship and we were again very pleased w/ the entire cruise.Kudo's to our wait staff who saw us every night in the same area and usually the same table.Katerina,Fortunato, and Agnes took exceptional care of us and our cabin steward Efran was exceptional as well.We were told the Spirit is moving to Australia and wonder which ship will take over and hope it is as good as the Spirit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The Spirit Moved Us Review Pre-Cruise Drove from the San Francisco Bay Area the day before sail. Stayed at the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro on a Park & Cruise deal; overnight room, buffet breakfast for 2, cocktails, parking for ... Read More
The Spirit Moved Us Review Pre-Cruise Drove from the San Francisco Bay Area the day before sail. Stayed at the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro on a Park & Cruise deal; overnight room, buffet breakfast for 2, cocktails, parking for the duration of the cruise and shuttle service to and from the port. Decent hotel, clean rooms, good buffet, 10 minutes from the port. More staff could be used at the Bell Station on embarkation/debarkation days. Embarkation Arrived at the port early; 10:00 a.m. Processed with S&S cards in hand by 11:00 a.m. Informed that the previous cruise was late disembarking and our embarkation would be delayed. At approximately 12:00 handed a letter from the Capitan of the ship informing us of a change of itinerary; due to Hurricane Jova the ports of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta would be canceled; in their place would be a stop at La Paz and an additional day in Cabo. The change also included a reconfiguration of the days we would be in port; instead of beginning with two sea days those days were moved to the end of the voyage. Finally boarded the ship around 1:00 p.m. Stuff happens and delays occur; it was all taken in stride (our own debarkation didnt happen until 10:30 a.m.). Initial Impressions The ships dcor has a decidedly old world feel to it. Becoming used to the Splendors gaudiness (think zebra stripes) and color (think pink) for the past two years, this vessel seemed sedate by comparison. We enjoyed the general ambience of the Spirit better. Getting around the ship is very easy with the interior public spaces located on decks two and three. Decks nine and ten are open decks (other than the buffet on 9) with public spaces and outdoor venues. The ship, with 2,500 passengers never felt crowded except at peak times at the feeding troughs I mean the buffet lines. Cabin Empress Deck 6151, Cat 8C, balcony, forward, starboard; carbon copy of our previous cabins; plenty of shelf, closet, drawer and bathroom space to accommodate two. Old style television set whose remote had a mind of its own. This room is directly across from the Steward supply closet which we thought might create some noise issues, however the only time we ever heard activity was early in the morning but never so much as to disturb us. Only real issue with this room would be the placement; this cabin is recessed from the cabins forward of it preventing a clear view where the ship is headed. One cabin over, the mid-ship cabins are recessed deeper and give no blockage of the view of the aft of the ship. Balcony was standard size and fit 2 chairs (one reclining) and a small table. Because of the location of this cabin approximately 2 square feet of the deck was raised at a diagonal preventing use of that area other than perhaps to place the table on it. This wasnt a problem for us as we had enough room to lounge comfortably though going in and out of the cabin door did involve some dexterity. Crew Overall the crew seemed to be in fine spirits, hard working, and always willing to assist. Usually saw some crew performing maintenance about the ship during the day. Room Steward Moyra was just OK; our cabin was kept neat and tidy in a timely manner most days. Didnt meet him until the 3rd day aboard. Ice was a hit or miss proposition and not filled daily. No freebies in the bathroom until I left a note asking for them. No towel animals on a couple of nights. Did not engage us in any conversation until two days before the end of the cruise. MDR Waitstaff could not have been more opposite. Nights 1 and 8 we were seated in Katerinas station; she seemed to be a bit scattered and without an assistant; wait times between courses seemed excessive though seated at a 2-top; Polite enough but with little personal warmth. Night 3 was at an 8-top and was shared with 2 young couples and another couple closer to our ages (early 50s); the company was enjoyable but again the waitstaff disappointed with long waits between courses. More than once finished plates had to be asked to be removed from the table. Nights 4, 5 and 7 we were served by Cvetlina at table 193(a 2-top); she, and her assistant Argo, were delightful, competent, speedy, warm and friendly; always remembered our names and inquired on our days activities; extended a warm handshake or shoulder caress upon departure. Highly recommended and would request her in a heartbeat if I were sailing again in the near future. CD Leslie Sparkles was friendly, enthusiastic, energetic and capable. Daily announcements didnt seem overdone as on other Carnival ships experienced, however, it almost seemed as she was shouting at us through the microphone; dial it down a couple of notches or ease up on the coffee a bit. The rest of the CD staff seemed to enjoy what they were doing too and that translated well to the passengers. Food Generally the food was adequate if a bit under seasoned. Buffet breakfasts were typical; stay away from the premade scrambled eggs (odd texture) and go for a freshly made omelet (even a plain omelet was better than the scrambled). MDR breakfast was well prepared (basted eggs) and served properly tempered. MDR lunch was standard with no stand outs in either direction. MDR dinners were prepared well and served at correct temperatures; meats were cooked to desired doneness; sides were on the small side; hot soups were delicious; Cesar salad and spinach salads were also tasty and well prepared; Deserts were good with the Almond Paste stuffed Phylo Dough and the Butter Pecan Ice Cream being the standouts. WCMC was not had (done to death) and the Bitter & Blanc was a bit of a disappointment as the bread itself was, again, under seasoned. Tea was a bit rushed as the location had changed from one of the lounges to the MDR and no notice was given; tea is tea, the treats were passable with the filled scones being the best. Room service was limited to coffee and pastries most mornings; always delivered on time when the doorhanger was used; delivered within 20 mins. upon phone call; pastries were very good and flakey each day. Chefs Table One word: Sublime. One regret: paced myself by not eating everything on my plate so as to be able to try all the courses. Ambience was enjoyable with Amuse Bouche served in the pastry galley and dinner served in the disco. The Tuna Tartar was an absolute standout with its hints of lemon, spice of wasabi and coolness of avocado. The Rock Shrimp and Apple Beignets were also very savory and enjoyed immensely. Ship Condition All things considered she looked to be in good shape. Public rooms were maintained well and kept clean of debris. No obvious unpleasant odors. Controls for the in-cabin air conditioner were never figured out but the temperature seemed comfortable for the majority of the trip. Note that our A/C did not turn off when our balcony door was open. Entertainment / Activities Of the very few scheduled shipboard activities (Musical Theater Trivia, Adult Arts & Crafts) that we took part in, those seemed to be run on time and efficiently. General canned music on the Aft Lido Deck was contemporary and unobtrusive. Capitans daily noon report was humorous and enjoyable (no doubt partly due to the nature of the way the Italian Capitan speaks) Spa Toured the spa on the first day aboard; attended the raffle later in the day to no avail; port day special booked on day of appt.; 30 min wait; facial was fine but done by sitting in a barber/salon type chair with head tilted back into a sink = very uncomfortable; head, neck & shoulder massage was fine. Used spa/hot tub on last sea day; good temp; few people; enjoyed. Excursions All excursions were booked through Carnival. Adjustments were made for excursions missed due to the itinerary changes. Shore Excursion staff were very accommodating in changing dates of one excursion due to our own fault. Ensenada & La Paz; Exclusive Resorts by far the better of the two was La Paz (La Concha Resort & Condos); Palapas available on the beach, beach side food and drink service, not crowded, towels & activity equipment available, enjoyable pool area, nice grounds dotted with statuary; lunch included (combo plate, delicious variety); transport in open air bus; approx. 30 minutes from port; resort host very affable. Ensenadas resort (Estero Resort), while on the water, had no beach access; lunch included (buffet, so so flavors); Towels available; nice pool; transport in air conditioned bus approx. 60 minutes from port. Cabo; Cabo by Land & Sea 45 minute tour aboard catamaran around the arch; non-alcohol drinks provided; 3.5 hour bus tour followed visiting glass factory (15 mins), hilltop resort (20 mins.; non-alcohol drink provided), Cabo del San Jose (45 mins., old town, delicious fish tacos purchased from Molls restaurant self paid), Mundo Cacti (cactus garden, 15 mins.). Overall an enjoyable and informative day; Tour Guide Libby was tremendous and made the land portion narration interesting, funny and fun; would have liked to have had a bit more time in old town. Puerto Vallarta; Canopy Adventure Zip line activity; not to be missed; highlight of our entire vacation!!; one hour transport inland in open air jeep type vehicle to a tropical forest of PV; brief intro to staff & procedures; 10 zip lines & 2 repels; soft drinks provided afterwards; Expensive but well worth the price!! Casino Played the first night and made a decent return for my investment; never was as fortunate after that; played with what had been downloaded on my S&S card the first night for the rest of the cruise. Qualified for the slot tournament; won a shirt; lost the tourney. Art Auction Attended first in a series of onboard auction events; identified artwork of interest; met with director later in the week to finalize purchases. Impressions: This was our third time dealing with this particular gallery. These guys operate like used car salesmen, and I treat them as such. Not with any disrespect but I dont play their negotiation games either. Bottom line is we bought 8 pieces of art for what we thought was a fair price. Shows Attended: hypnotists show; typical, boring, not believable. Production show; New Orleans themed; Good; Gotta give those dancers credit for performing pretty much for an hour straight. Band supplemented by soundtrack. On deck 2-person band sounded pretty much the same every time we heard them; very generic electronically created calypso sound no matter what the song. Overall Impressions Go with the flow attitude served us well with the changing itinerary (altered 3 times, due to weather, from the original plan). Enjoyable ship; easy on the eyes, easy to navigate. Enjoyable staff; friendly, helpful. Used private balcony quite a bit and worth every penny. Taste of food was forgettable but presentation and ambience were well executed. Excellent value for the dollar (cruise only). Overpriced excursions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We arrived at the Port of Los Angeles about 1pm. It took about 30 minutes total to board the ship, which was a very nice surprise. I should mention that there were long lines, however, we got in line with my VIP brother and bi-passed the ... Read More
We arrived at the Port of Los Angeles about 1pm. It took about 30 minutes total to board the ship, which was a very nice surprise. I should mention that there were long lines, however, we got in line with my VIP brother and bi-passed the long wait. As we boarded the ship, I must say that the staff was very curious and welcoming. Our rooms were ready and our luggage showed up about 4pm. This was a first for us as it usually shows up just prior to the late dinner seating. We did the My Time dining, so we could choose when we wanted to go. Typically we went about 8-8:30 every night. The food in the dining room was very well prepared with a good selection. We ate one evening in the Steakhouse where we had what I would say was a steak as good as eating at Ruth's Chris, and we ate one evening in the buffet. The buffet had pretty much the same entrees as the dining room, so we didn't feel as though we missed anything. The desserts in the buffet, were not to my liking. I felt as though they tasted like something from a cheap buffet. It would have been nice if they had put some of the desserts as served in the dining room on the buffet. The Allure of the Seas had awesome desserts on the buffet, including Creme' Brulee. So Carnival should really check those out and think about updating their selections. The main pool: Well the seating plentiful with lots of chairs, tables, loungers. The maintenance upkeep at the pool was less than acceptable. Many people were tripping on the rubber strips that were loose on the titles. The metal stripping around the pool was was pulling away from the sides. It was quite alarming that we did not see any maintenance being done while we cruised. Burger Grill: Excellent burgers, fries, and chili Pizza: Not so good and it was not displayed or readily available Aisan food: well done, good flavor Breakfast Buffet: Typical and pretty much the same every day Food Variety: Menu's in the buffet were repeated every few days and lacked some variety. Entertainment: The worst I have seen on any of the ships. Very disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Basically, this was a good cruise. The stateroom was quite adequate, clean and well maintained. Meals in the main dining room were very good and the waiter service excellent. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the buffet (deck ... Read More
Basically, this was a good cruise. The stateroom was quite adequate, clean and well maintained. Meals in the main dining room were very good and the waiter service excellent. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the buffet (deck 9). The buffet area is very poorly laid out and diners have to walk "half-way round the ship" to find all the meal selections. Prominent signs directing people to the various areas would have helped. The range and quality of the buffet meals was mediocre at best. Staff did not appear to be happy. Sullen, unsmiling but courteous and respectful when they did speak - which was not often. The elevator and stair areas suffer from clear signage to indicate which deck you are on and what signs there are are small and hard to see. Corridor signs do not indicate fore-and-aft so passengers unfamiliar with the ship often go the wrong way until the numbers progression becomes obvious. The general decor in the atrium and stair areas is quite dated and could do with modernizing. There is a lot of waste with respect to bathroom linen. Although notices indicate that towels not requiring change are left hanging, cabin stewards routinely seem to change all towels every day. Not good conservation. TV sets in staterooms are old style and entertainment programmes are dreadful. Very old films and several repeats....of course it is possible to rent programmes but this goes against the grain ! General lack of information about the coming ports of call, no weather info. and extremely poor ships-progress display (stateroom TV). Overall, a reasonable trip, let down somewhat by the above factors. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Background Information We were a family of 7 (parents, kids [all younger than 6 years old] and grandparents). We sailed with HAL a few years ago on a Mexican trip out of San Diego. Ship Info We encountered a repeat mechanical ... Read More
Background Information We were a family of 7 (parents, kids [all younger than 6 years old] and grandparents). We sailed with HAL a few years ago on a Mexican trip out of San Diego. Ship Info We encountered a repeat mechanical issue in our cabin. We understand that mechanical issues can occur, and were not upset that our air conditioner decided to start leaking condensation in the middle of the night on the carpet, because we assumed maintenance would fix the problem after we reported it. What we did not expect was that maintenance was unable to fix the problem and it occurred again the second night and the customer service manager should have her title renamed to customer unservice manager. We did not let the customer unservice manager's bumbling upset our rhythm, we were just disappointed. Activities We used Camp Carnival. Staff was great, they have meal times on the Lido where the kids can eat dinner with their new friends, the kids, with the exception of our youngest, were very happy with the program(s). Note that Camp Carnival is at the very front of the ship - so you will do lots of walking. Service We were never bowled over by service, however (with the exception of the maintenance problem noted above) we were never disappointed, either. Friendly, competent, tried to remember our names. Our toddler received genuine attention from many crew members, as opposed to the normal 'fake' attention adults give each other! We could tell that the crew members missed their families and enjoyed interacting with the kids, especially our toddler. Port & Shore Excursions We loved Cabo. On our last cruise with HAL, we did not get off the ship in Cabo. This time, we did and loved Cabo. We spent the day at the Welks resort. About a 10 minute cab ride. Check out the reviews of the Welks resort on Trip Advisor under Cabo. Amazing! We did not book anything through Carnival, too expensive. There are so many vendors when you get off the tender, I don't see the need to use Carnival's services. Everyone speaks English and there is so much to do. We used Aries Watersports to para sail and jet ski on the second day. Great! The water was warm, blue and great, and the beach(s)were uncrowded and relaxing. The Splendor was anchored next to the Spirit and made for some great pictures! As for folks that are concerned about the violence in Mexico. We left the Port of San Pedro near LA for this trip. While we were on the cruise, just south of the LA port in Seal Beach, CA, a man tragically went to a hair salon and murdered eight people! This happened just south of our US port! This did not happen in Mexico where folks are afraid to travel, this happened in the US. Summary Travel To Port of Embarkation We drove to the port from AZ. A bit confusing. If you are driving yourself, do not go through the gates to the parking lot if you want to drop your luggage curbside. Circle around, drop your bags and passengers and then return to the the automated parking gate to park in the parking lot. The parking lot is easy to access for embarkation - if your ship is parked at space 92-92. More on this later... Stateroom We had 7 folks, so we needed 2 cabins. We booked a 9B Premium Balcony and a standard inside cabin. We played the system a bit. Both cabins slept 4 people. We paid Carnival for 4 people in the inside cabin and 3 people in the balcony, even though 5 of us slept in the balcony cabin and the grandparents slept in the inside cabin. Our 3 kids are small so this was not a problem for us in the over sized 9B - a great cabin. Tons of space and easy access to the ship with no noise. Huge balcony - a no brainer of a cabin choice! Granite counter tops, crown molding, extra storage space. Easy decision. We even had a crib in that cabin and still had space to spare. Inside cabin was clean and usable. Dining Lido and MDR - acceptable on all fronts. We used the Nouveau steakhouse, and service was above and beyond. My spouse had the best meal of her life at the steakhouse. Exceptional. Entertainment Never attended any due to the children. Grandparents attended and enjoyed most of the shows. Disembarkation A mess. Because embarkation went so smoothly, I was surprise how long disembarkation took. The ship berthed at a different spot that it did when we left, and there was no easy way to access the parking lot that we had parked in for embarkation. Bring lots of patience. OVERALL - We would consider this cruise again. We sailed with HAL last time because we had read about the Motel 6 atmosphere and rowdy crowds on Carnival. We did not experience this on the Spirit with this trip, thus we would not be worried about booking another Carnival cruise in the future if the price point was significantly lower than other cruise lines. Remember to cruise with a positive attitude and not to let the little things interrupt your vacation! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We arrived the night before and stayed at a San Pedro hotel. Since all the parties in our group were VIP, we headed over to the San Pedro pier around 10am and thought we would board at the usual 11am (usual for Florida ports). Not only did ... Read More
We arrived the night before and stayed at a San Pedro hotel. Since all the parties in our group were VIP, we headed over to the San Pedro pier around 10am and thought we would board at the usual 11am (usual for Florida ports). Not only did we not board until 12:30, there wasn't a VIP lounge. Oh well, I'm on vaca and all is well. I loved the ship, others have said over-done, I say Just Right!. The furnishings and decor in the general meeting areas was well thought out, comfortable and in abundance. We've not been on the Spirit before, so one afternoon we walked from one end to the other on the upper most decks. Amazing views, lots of room to move, no overcrowded pools...it was great. Although my favorite lunch is a Caesar salad with pizza, the Lido deck had much more to choose from. Lots of variety, always fresh and clean. The new MDR menues have lots of new interesting entrees, but there was a lack of a few of my favorites (shrimp cocktail and lobster bisque). My favorites include pumpkin soup, tilapia, bitter and blanc, but I'm sure everyone has own. Our wait staff was exceptional (Joel, Wilson and Putra will not be forgotten). The Mexican Riviera would not be my favorite and for sure I'm not going back to Manzanillo (dirty, smelly and I don't think it was all that safe). For those that rent the ski-jets, please be careful. We watched a family of 3 turn over and it took a very long time for anyone to get them out of the water. We wanted to book at 10:10am flight out of Long Beach, but didn't know how fast we could get off the ship, as it turned out the first passengers go off at 6:45am...but better safe than sorry, we booked a 12:45pm flight and lots of room to spare. All in all, another great time on Carnival Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This is our second cruise, first for our 3 year old, all with carnival, and spirit class ships. Embarkation took longer than our first cruise, as debark was late, but it was fine as we met alot of nice people who we frequently saw on the ... Read More
This is our second cruise, first for our 3 year old, all with carnival, and spirit class ships. Embarkation took longer than our first cruise, as debark was late, but it was fine as we met alot of nice people who we frequently saw on the ship. Our itinerary changed about five times from booking date to actually getting our last port reinstated as we returned to our ship. Mostly due to "violence" and two hurricanes. We enjoyed all of the ports. Our son went to camp everyday and loved it. The staff was great and treated him well, thanks Lola. Many crew members were very nice to our son, patting him on the head and knowing his name without asking us. Some crew members even acknowledged him in La Paz on the free beach bus. It was simply awesome that they paid him so much attention as it helped with his few bouts of home-sickness. He did enjoy dining with the other campers in the lido buffet. Wish we would have known this sooner as we kept him for dinner most nights at the beginning of the cruise and ate at the buffet. The buffet was hit and miss and pizza was a disappointment from the last cruise. We did eat in the MDR the last 3 nights though and the food and service were excellent The comfort food section was actually nice to see as we have seen eateries where we live add comfort food to their menus. The burgers were great and the wife said the fried chicken was excellent. We did eat at the Nouveau Steakhouse on day 3 and found it to be worth the money. I had the 18oz. chef rib eye special and my wife had the rib steak I believe. It was the best meal on the ship. We will do the steakhouse again when we board the glory in January. Enjoyed the reverse schedule with two days at sea on the return. We also purchased the future cruise voucher and used it for our next cruise already. All in all great family cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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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