7 Los Angeles to Hawaii Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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

Find a Carnival Spirit Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click