Sail Date: December 2013
Embarkation - was onboard within 15 minutes, no issues. Cabin - extended balcony deck 7, wasn't ready until 1:30pm despite 12pm embarkation. Bags delivered to room by 2pm. Empire Dining - fantastic, always got a table for 2. ... Read More
Embarkation - was onboard within 15 minutes, no issues. Cabin - extended balcony deck 7, wasn't ready until 1:30pm despite 12pm embarkation. Bags delivered to room by 2pm. Empire Dining - fantastic, always got a table for 2. Fantastic service, enjoyed showtime especially on carribean night, did the Congo dressed as pirates. Good food selection and quality. Highly recommend the melting chocolate cake. Buffet - loved the omelette station, salads great selection, deli had fresh turkey rolls for lunch, hot food was rarely hot Pizza - often had pizza late at night, also had breakfast pizza on last day was very good. Serenity - always managed to find a lounge in the sun,enjoyed drinking many cocktails while listening to live music , Stephanie is fantastic. Found serenity very relaxing. Pool Lido deck - often almost slipped due to wet floor, this needs to be fixed. Also didn't like smoking near the pool with kids around. Freshies corner - lined up for 10 mins to order, told needed to wait for other peoples food to be cooked before I could place my order, despite them handing buzzers out for food. There were 4 cooks in the small kitchen and none of them seemed to know what to do, they all stood around. Walked away without ordering. Shopping - check daily newsletter and offers in shop window. Everyday has specials. Great watch deals, also gold plated Jewellery and bought Pandora style bracelet full of beads for about 40 dollars. Can feel a bit like you are on a home shopping channel. Everywhere onboard is trying to get money. Art auctions, photos, Jewellery sales, excursions, bingo etc Activities - noticed a huge lack of activities aimed at just adults. Most activities were aimed at families with lots of kids in attendance. If you don't olive trivea, putting golf balls, bean bag tossing or learning the macareana then all that is left is eating and drinking during the day. We went on p and o earlier in the year and they had various adult only activities and we were never bored. Comedy club - awesome, really enjoyed Steve white ly - the Hogan, very funny. Anil design did great impersonations. Shows - carnival shows with dancers, singers - jazz show was good, hypnotist onboard mark Antony was awesome, magic shown in main theatre was dissapointing. Don't recommend carnival unless you have teenage kids. Most activities don't start until 10pm at night, too late for us and we are in our 30s Dissapointed, we really enjoyed our cruise on p and o pacific dawn. Carnival spirit lacked atmosphere, there was no sail away party either. Noumea - stayed onboard as did Noumea previously and its not a nice place. Lifou - you now have to pay to snorkel at jinek bay and they only allow 200 people per day to do this. Isle of pines - stayed onboard as it was a rainy day and you need to get a tender number and wait /for ages to be called. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This is a review of the Carnival Spirit - 8 night cruise departing Sydney on the 5th of December 2013 and visiting Noumea, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. This is my 4th cruise, 2nd time on Carnival. The first being in 2009 in Baja ... Read More
This is a review of the Carnival Spirit - 8 night cruise departing Sydney on the 5th of December 2013 and visiting Noumea, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. This is my 4th cruise, 2nd time on Carnival. The first being in 2009 in Baja California. The other 2 were with RCCL in the Bahamas. My first experience with Carnival was un-traumatic enough to make me want to sail with them again, but I was in for some surprises this time around. CHECK IN JOYS Ok, lets get this out of the way first up. The absolute schmozzle that was boarding on Thursday 5th of December 2013. Apparently the computer systems went down and everyone had to be checked in manually. We were supposed to get on at 12.30pm. We queued. After 1 hour waiting and no explanation for the delay we finally made it to the check-in counter. They told us to come back at 3pm! So we queued for nothing! So off we went to the Rocks to fork out money for lunch, as we'd no longer be getting fed on the ship. Meanwhile Carnival Australia's genius social media minions were busy deleting unfavourable posts from their Facebook page made by frustrated passengers. We returned at 3pm to find the main queue was back all the way to Circular Quay a good 300m long. We waited for another 30 mins in a shorter side queue. Then got our room cards then waited 15 mins in another queue to queue for security. 4pm and we were finally on and yet they still had the hide to push people to have photos on the way on! Yeah we are all in such a fantastic mood after being mucked around for 4 hours what a great start to our holidays! Yay! The most annoying part was none of the ground staff knew what was going on. There was no communication and they had a couldn't care less attitude. The cruise director Stu, apologised profusely when we were onboard. Everyone was offered a complimentary house wine or beer at dinner the next night to 'make up for it'. Our time inconvenienced is apparently worth $2 an hour. To add insult, my waiter wouldn't serve me a beer claiming that only wine or soft drink was on offer for free so I ended up with a can of coke! PASSENGERS Seemed to be an even distribution of oldies, couples, young families and a load of kids. Ahh kids everywhere. It made the main pools a no go zone. Kids loitering around the casino and pokies was a pain and not heavily policed. Unique to Carnival - the 'Serenity Retreat' provides some respite from kids, although the deck chairs, hammocks and pod lounges are virtually unobtainable. People dump towels on them and hog them for the whole day. Despite their being signs saying they will be cleared after 40 mins of vacancy - this never happens. Carnival really needs to introduce a reservation system for these pods with a maximum time limit of a couple of hours. It's not fair otherwise. Any marginally affordable cruise ship from Australia is going to contain a fair share of cashed up bogans and this cruise is no different. They tend to congregate in large family / friends groups and take over an area of the lido eating area and yell at each other from distances, play their own obnoxious music from their iphones etc with no consideration for others. They also request Cold Chisel, Hunters and Collectors and AC/DC at every opportunity for live or recorded music. They need another 'Serenity Zone' that is for over 18 non bogans. STAFF Carnival Spirit is a non-compulsory tipping ship. There are no standard gratuities enforced on guests, but you are able to tip staff if you like although its not heavily promoted. I think this makes a huge difference to the attitude and service of the staff. They don't go the extra mile like on American cruise lines. They weren't overly friendly and were sometimes surly and uninterested. Exception to this was our cabin steward, Gusti who was absolutely lovely. He knew our names after only seeing us come out of our cabin once! How is that even possible?! Our cabin was always cleaned spotless. The captain Giuseppe and all the officers were Italian.. lol. Not exactly reassuring given Carnival own Concorde cruise line. We could have done without his broken English and useless announcements over the PA 'it is a sunny a day today'. I saw the captain swanning around (while we were at sea) so many times it almost became a joke how many times I saw him. An overweight, bald guy with back of the head neck rolls. I saw him making inappropriate advances to a Russian waitress in the main dining room and saw him being generally sleazy to younger women on the cruise, touching and leering at them. Gross. How about getting to the bridge and sailing the bloody ship? The cruise director Stu, works hard to make sure everyone is having a good time and is actually quite funny. FOOD * Lido Deck / BBQ Standard buffet faire, but unfortunately all the 'hot' food was not up to temperature. It would certainly not pass any food and health regulation tests. Appear to have run out of waffles for breakfast 3 days before the end of the cruise. The deli and pizza bars are fresh and made to order and your best bet. The poolside bbq had burgers, chips and schnitzel and was good for a quick eat. The upstairs bbq, Fat Jimmis had the best tasting food. Pulled pork, marinated chicken breasts, baked potatoes. * Main Dining Room Our request for anytime dining was denied once we got on board so we were given the 7.45pm seating. The maitre'd was a bit of a twit greeting everyone with 'Yee-haaa' as they came into the dining room. On the first night we queued for 45 mins on deck 3 for the dining room not realising that it was the 'anytime dining' queue. No signs to indicate seated dining was on deck 2 and no staff going up and down the queue to tell people. We weren't the only people to make that mistake. By the time we got to our table we arrive to 7 x 80+ year olds who left our two empty seats at opposite ends of the round table and were using them to rest their walking sticks on. We complained to the maitre'd that due to our ages we might have been better placed on another table to which he balks 'there is no private dining' even though there are plenty of 2 seater tables. I'm not asking for private dining - but it is your job to sit people with people they might actually want to sit with. I've got nothing against old people but you don't sit young people on a nursing home experience table FFS. As punishment we got put on our own large table smack in the middle of the dining room, probably assigned as the whingers table. Wasn't worth the wait anyway, the dining room food was horribly bland. I think they put everything in a steamer. One entree 'seafood platter' was an absolute joke, a 1/4 of a prawn flattened out and a piece of smoked salmon and ahi tuna about the sizes of 50c pieces. The chilli beef on mexican night was nice except for the great hunk of gob meat in mine that had a huge artery still attached to it - disgusting. * Nouveau Restaurant - we ate here one night. At $35AUD pp it is well worth the price. The menu and steaks are exquisite and what you expect to eat on a cruise ship normally, except with Carnival Spirit they charge you extra for it. The staff were also really attentive and friendly - something you don't get on the rest of the ship. DRINKS/BARS Cocktails are your best bet for alcoholic bang for buck and are good value. Cocktails are $10.50 and if its drink of the day you get to keep the plastic souvenir glass! Soft drinks at $2.25 were also good value and actual cans of drink, not post-mix. Although none of the cans were ever refrigerated, so you'd get a hot coke and a glass of ice. Carnival claim to have 'Australianised' this ship but continue to refer to them as 'sodas'. They even have Pibb as a soft drink choice that unless you have visited the states you would have never heard of, but not Dr Pepper. Beers, wines, ciders all too expensive. $8.50 for a beer? It's just a ripp. ACTIVITIES * Trivia Plenty of it and if you win you get a neat Carnival medallion. Some hosts had the right idea by splitting up mega groups of 6 - 10 people who of course have an unfair advantage. Also making teams swap answers for marking to prevent obvious cheating. After many attendances by miracle I finally won 2 games playing solo. * Art Auction Carnival really need to work on the artists they use in their Park West (read as: like a time share seminar) art auctions. This is an Australian based cruise so majority of the passengers will be Australian. I swear if I hear the names Peter Max or Tim Yanke one more time I'm going to punch somebody in the face. Australian's aren't going to buy art that is blazoned with American flags, the Statue of Liberty, homages to 9/11, buffalos, feathered war bonnets etc. It seems the majority of the collection they are trying to push are these artists. The whole edge art auctions at sea have is that people get caught up in the hype and have no ability to do independent research before impulse buying. Credit needs to be given to the art auctioneer/director - Arturo. He works hard and is very entertaining even though he got very little energy back from the audience. * Water Slides A word of warning. I crippled my back going on the Green Thunder waterslide. It's a near vertical drop after the floor falls out from under you and the first thing to make contact with the slide after your fall is your back. I got a nasty friction burn all the way down my back from where my vertebrae hit the join sections of the slide. The contact burned a hole through my brand new swimsuit and then skinned my back. So maybe think twice about this one, its not worth the pain afterwards. The yellow slide was a seated start and more tame. PORTS Don't book any shore excursions through the cruise, they are grossly overpriced. Book them with local tour companies when you arrive in port. * Noumea Carnival must have drawn the short straw for port arrivals, being new on the scene because they docked in Noumea on a Sunday. The city centre is dead even during the week, so on a Sunday it was virtually a ghost town with everything shut and shops boarded up. I've been to Noumea before for a week so know its expensive and has an air of unsafety about it. Bought a $15 tour at the terminal for a hop on/off bus and transfer to Duck Island (Ile Aux Canards). Unfortunately after arriving at Anse Vata beach (the main tourist) the police were there and a group of local Kanak men were carrying what appeared to be the dead body of a man to a waiting ambulance. This was 10am on a Sunday morning. They were all intoxicated and empty bottles of whisky were strewn on the grass. We hightailed it out of there further along the beach to the water taxi to Duck Island. We'd just left the dock when we spotted a fight breaking out, again with drunk locals and women screaming for the men to stop. Unknown if it was related to the death a few hundred metres up the road. But one man was being brutally bashed, having his head kicked in and defenceless. Awful to witness and the police arrived just as we were no longer in view. Duck Island is designed for rich locals - you have to rent everything. Deck chairs, umbrellas, towels - everything. Any tree worthy of providing shade has been hacked to the ground! They have hawk eye staff who watch you if you try and sit on anything or sneak a bit of shade from the blistering sun. Despite paying 750XPF ($10AUD) for a small plate of hot chips apparently this did not entitle us to be able to sit on a chair in the outdoor cafe and we got told to rent the chairs for $10 each or get booted. So we left. Don't bother with quack quack island. Stick to Anse Vata and the Baie des Citron. * Mystery Island, Vanuatu Probably the best stop of this cruise. A nice sized island to walk around, mostly shaded by trees all the way around the outer rim. The locals are friendly but again vying for the tourist dollar its a pay for everything experience. There were a few tours on offer, hair braiding and massages available. The ship set up a limited bar service on the island, only selling beer, water and powerade. If you wanted a soft drink you got hit by the locals for $4 a can. Beaches are pristine and water clear and beautiful. * Isle of Pines, New Caledonia Another lovely spot. Enterprising locals set up food and beverage tents with expensive treats (fair priced by New Cal standards!) Snorkelling spots are good. We took a $15AUD pp bus tour of the island that stopped at 4 places for nice lookouts and at a Catholic church. There isn't a great deal to see but it can't be done on foot. The same tour booked through the cruise is about $60pp. ENTERTAINMENT I can't comment on any of the comedy acts as I didn't go to them. Cruise ship comedy is not my thing, nor is comedy in general if I don't know the act and like their style of humour. The hypnotist Mark Anthony was a bit of a farce. He seemed more interested in selling copies of his show DVD's afterwards by employing the strategy of having about 50 people come up on stage to be mass hypnotised. Of course this doesn't work and you see that only 10% of the people actually become pliable and amusing. Normally the pre-work hypnotising would be done before hand, but instead we copped 25 mins of repetition, clicking into the microphone (the cue) and the audience was restless. The fact he claims to be a clinical hypnotherapist is interesting, I'm not sure what his patients would make of his dual life. I personally know clinical hypnotherapists and they despise the entertainment hypnotists for making a mockery of their profession. The Big Easy was by far the best of the performance shows. Simply amazing. What you would expect in a condensed Broadway show. The singers and dancers are spot on, as is the 10 piece band. Costume changes and creative set designs that you wonder how it can be done on a cruise ship. The two other shows (Jazz and Swing) were also very good. The magician Hellevia on the last night was also very good. Tip: Don't sit at the second level side or the tricks won't be as magical! MUSIC Stephanie the solo singer/guitarist was extremely talented and just a lovely soul. Her sets in the Serenity Retreat were a highlight of the cruise. I caught bits and pieces of 'Soulfire' playing. The bassist should probably stick to the bass and not singing as the female vocalist is very good on her own. The cruise band 'Music Manila' were an interesting bunch. All Filipino, as musicians they were actually very competent, especially the electric guitarist who performed amazing solos for Hotel California, Sweet Child O Mine etc. The problem is they can't really sing. They seem to have targeted the market learning every Cold Chisel, AC/DC, The Knack and Guns N Roses song imaginable. When open to requests they don't know very many. I know its impossible to have a huge repertoire but I requested anything by the B-52's - probably the most famous party band ever and they said they don't know any. Um, Love Shack, Rock Lobster?? Seriously. They then proceeded to play Apache and Telstar by the Shadows! lol.. random. IN CONCLUSION... But I guess that sums up the Carnival Spirit - random. Highly inconsistent and disappointing to the Carnival brand. If you can get a hot deal like we did ($800pp balcony suite) then go for it, but it really isn't worth much more than that.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
From the moment you step out of Immigration and not even onto the gangway "Kerching" - there's $15.00 in a family photo the kids are desperate to have. The photo's which probably cost about 30 cents to produce keep on ... Read More
From the moment you step out of Immigration and not even onto the gangway "Kerching" - there's $15.00 in a family photo the kids are desperate to have. The photo's which probably cost about 30 cents to produce keep on coming displayed in the "gallery" throughout the cruise. They then go on to offer you a dvd of your (and everyone elses' holiday moments) for $30.00. When it comes to photos, consideration of guests and their relaxation goes out the window Carnival are so desperate to take photos and create revenue that they will move guests who are happily sitting at a window enjoying an afternoon drink with their family to set up the most hideous, extremely tacky backdrops to allow families to get dressed up in their "best" clothes (and I use the term "best", very loosely) and have a photoshoot, which of course can be purchased for a couple of hundred bucks. The guests - I have never seen so much "ink" in my life, these men and women surely keep the tattoo parlours in Australia in business. They are pigs, they eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and then drink and it's not good stuff. The ship offers wonderful flavours and a diverse range of excellent food and options, but, unfortunately the majority choose the high fat option. The staff - the cabin and waiting staff are wonderful, cleaning up the vomit of drunks and tolerating belligerent drunks, but go to another revenue raising area, the shop and this is another story altogether. Anu in the lolly shop, rude and abrasive and it took the assistant selling perfume all her time to even acknowledge. Of course the most shameless profiteering I saw was the silver "flip flop/thong" necklace. These can be purchased in Honolulu for about $2.50. Carnival Boutique - $ 180.00. I'm sure when you sign up to this cruise we must have signed a waiver relating to accidents around the pool. ie. If you get injured, Carnival is not at fault. Without a lie, a child slipped and hurt themselves at least once a minute due to the wet floor around the pool, this area is as slippery as an eel. And, it's not just kids, I saw adults of all ages literally "hit the deck". Someone will break their neck or worse if nothing is done about this. Also, tell me why, when we're in international waters, a duty free environment, an Australian beer costs $8.00? Outrageous profiteering once again. The gym is fantastic, excellent equipment, clean. The food is great if you want to eat the good stuff, the sweets are marvellous. The wait staff & rooms staff are wonderful. But I wouldn't do it again. If I did ever set foot on another cruise, it would be the only other one I've ever been on, Royal Caribbean out of Florida Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
I must congratulate Carnival Cruises Australia on their marketing concept to point out the strength of P & O Cruises. We have just returned from a cruise on the Carnival (possible better named Circus) Spirit, supposedly four star ... Read More
I must congratulate Carnival Cruises Australia on their marketing concept to point out the strength of P & O Cruises. We have just returned from a cruise on the Carnival (possible better named Circus) Spirit, supposedly four star ship, it is hard to do something in your life without expectation and without making comparison, but usually there is always a balance by which you find satisfaction. I must point out that my wife and I had a great holiday, as we always ensure ourselves of, but the experience of the ship and its provisions of quality, hygiene, services and overall ambiance left a lot to be desired. Information as per daily Newsletter to our cabin comparable to what we have experienced on P&O and Princess lines was miserable. Allow me to be more specific, I have never been on a cruise ship with the ratio of under 18's as this, it was quoted to us as more than 30%, and other than the Serenity area there was not one area in which adult comfort could be achieved during the majority of the period of the day, (UNLESS THE FABULOUS WATER SLIDE WAS OPERATING WHICH CAUSES A RAIN STORM ON SERENITY) We have cruised in the past with our grand child and appreciated the limitations that were placed on her, and the overall decorum of the cruise was sensational, oh it was a Carnival owned line, to be more specific Pacific Pearl. 800 odd children, dirty elevator buttons smeared with food staff, sticky hand rails and hand prints on most surfaces that weren't table tops, no requirement to ensure hand sterilisation and no sign of staff cleaning the issues as you would constantly see on other lines. Children in bars, the Casino area, sitting at the bar during cocktail tasting and presentation, children playing music over the top of solo artists playing, children of all ages unsupervised at all times of night and obviously uncared for. The entertainment, the several production shows that were on were outstanding, the other nights it was as though one was to amuse ones self or attend bars that were orientated to "family" entertainment, which was poor, the comedy was hit and miss which is standard for that style as everybody has a differing view but it was the limit of adult content and only because of the f bombs it was believed to be for adults. (get real the kids drop them more often than the comedians). But entertainment creates the atmosphere of fun and the euphoria is lifted, and on every cruise and every event i have been involved in its at the start it counts. Getting on Spirit was as boring as it gets, I was shocked, after the gang way photographer it was over. But being used to the upper deck poolside party for sail out of a port we went searching to find a personality lacking JD playing "some" music to a miffed group of people who had to use the smoke of bush fires to provide a memory. There were a couple of good acts around the ship, but the ship and the management of the acts did not make an impression. So it was to the Atrium Bar to have a drink, where we found the tour information available to us, and Noumea being the only stop we hadn't experienced recently we decided to book some activities straight up. we were not told though there was a minimum number required to book for our major choice, and yes they did not get enough and so at the last minute we were advised it was cancelled, and left with no other option. Wonderful people staff the ship, but Carnival advised they have made the ship more "Aussie" and that means they have taken away the need to tip, which has broken the need for the staff to engage and because of the normal culture they are used too the staff feel as though Aussies don't appreciate them, it cruel's the relationships.The staff just never looked happy or enjoying themselves or even wanting to be there. Then comes casino operations, bingo was as boring as I have seen, but the hold by the ship of 70% of ticket sales I find to a level of greed that is amazing, and the Melbourne Mug game was only driven by two guys who participated for the final day! And it goes on, double zero roulette, zeroed progressives on Slots from the previous cruises!!!!!!!!! Food, dining room great and the staff sensational our people at tables 316 & 318 where we constantly managed to dine added to Chef Daniel's works, chef's table, as good a degustation you could desire. The feature steak house, just, if Carnival only knew how good Salt is on P&O ships! The buffet is merely satisfactory in its range and service methods.Bar prices are higher than Sydney CBD bars!!!!!! And a Charge for room service???? Our cabin, could not complain, and Renzi was always there for us. Carnival again? ......no way ..... they have sold me on the other lines!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Hi when we cruised on the Carnival Spirit we were expecting a little bit more than what we got considering we apparently had the BEST room on the ship. I will pay credit where credit is due. The room was AMAZING and very spacious and there ... Read More
Hi when we cruised on the Carnival Spirit we were expecting a little bit more than what we got considering we apparently had the BEST room on the ship. I will pay credit where credit is due. The room was AMAZING and very spacious and there was 4 of us in the room and it did not feel like we were climbing all over one and other. The Balcony was huge. 2 massive doors on either side. Ample closet space. Biggest bathroom I have ever seen on a ship and even a dressing room! Beds were comfy, but that is where it ends for me I am afraid, Our cabin staff were very slack and you got no benefits for having paid an arm and a leg for the room. On other cruise lines you get little things like fruit, champagne on arrival and even P&O give you horsiedovers hahaha.... My Daughter had a ball in the ClubO2, so I would recommend that for the 15-17years old. Also going to the Empire dining room is a must!!! One bar man out of the whole ship who really worked like he wanted to be there... I just could not believe how slack they were on the majority of things and how they treated people it was like they were not interested in you at all. Sorry we would not travel Carnival again. We also had VIP check in and our friends/family didn't and they were on board before us.... What is with that??? Will stick to P&O and Princess even if we have an inside cabin... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
On entering the ship it took my breath away, how could a ship be so gaudy! Having cruised previously on Cunard I wasn't expecting it to be luxurious but I wasn't expecting this. The cabin was fine same size as Cunard and well ... Read More
On entering the ship it took my breath away, how could a ship be so gaudy! Having cruised previously on Cunard I wasn't expecting it to be luxurious but I wasn't expecting this. The cabin was fine same size as Cunard and well set out. I knew there were going to be children and on the whole they were good, some of the parent's not so good, they seemed to think that everyone was happy for little Johnny to run everywhere. Level 9 had a large selection of food, some good some not so good, once you found somewhere to sit. Drinks exorbitant, Sydney restaurant prices which you do not expect on a ship. The shopping was very good and well priced. Very little entertainment for adults if you didn't want to play bingo. Spoke with a couple who had children with them and said they would not come back as it was their holiday as well and there was nothing if you didn't want to play silly games. The food in the dining room was good, only problem our waiters kept giving the wrong dishes, they forgot who had ordered what. Our cabin steward, Katut, yes Katut! was wonderful and the shop staff excellent. We have made friends with our dinner table members and will probably keep in touch. Would I cruise on Spirit again, you would have to carry me on screaming, but as they say you don't know if you don't try. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Sorry to say Carnival did not live up to expectations. Stateroom was a pleasant surprise, clean roomy & bright, bathroom was bigger than usual also. Balcony was tiny with a dangerous little step right outside the balcony doors. ... Read More
Sorry to say Carnival did not live up to expectations. Stateroom was a pleasant surprise, clean roomy & bright, bathroom was bigger than usual also. Balcony was tiny with a dangerous little step right outside the balcony doors. Firstly the staff were great, absolutely no complaints there. Lack of staff was very noticeable in the Empire dining room. We had My Time dining which was a misnomer considering that we had to wait in a long queue every evening & usually were sent away with a pager until a table was ready. Correction, tables always seemed to be available but there didn't seem to be enough staff to escort diners to their places & the front desk seemed to be in continual turmoil. The La Playa Grill was very disappointing, the layout is strange, the food rarely hot & of below average quality. Hygiene was not encouraged & the only hand sanitising units that were in prominent positions were outside the Empire dining room. At La Playa we saw a sanitiser behind the entrance door & tucked into corners almost out of sight. Every other cruise line we have used have had staff holding portable sanitisers outside every food outlet & gangplanks encouraging passengers to wash their hands. The Serenity area was fantastic, lovely to be able to occasionally get away from the noise & boisterous children. The ports were lovely. Isle of Pines was just beautiful, Lifou gorgeous as well & Noumea was just average really. All things considered we would not cruise with Carnival again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2013
We (family of 4 - parents, my brother and I aged in our 20s) were very excited to embark on the Carnival Spirit. We had heard so many good things about Carnival and what an exciting trip we were in for. Boy, were we wrong! EMBARKATION ... Read More
We (family of 4 - parents, my brother and I aged in our 20s) were very excited to embark on the Carnival Spirit. We had heard so many good things about Carnival and what an exciting trip we were in for. Boy, were we wrong! EMBARKATION Embarkation seemed ok. The first thing that surprised us was the lack of usual health questionnaires that are given to passengers before boarding (we have travelled on 6 other cruises with other cruise lines, and received one each time). I had had a severely bad cold/flu leading up to the cruise and was not over it at the time of boarding, in fact, I was still quite sick (visibly). When we went to the check in counters, instead of receiving a health questionnaire we were only asked if we had been sick recently. I told them about my situation (actually expecting to be sent to a doctor and possibly quarantined as my sickness was evident just by looking at me), but they just smiled and nodded and let us through. At the time I was surprised, but also glad. In hindsight, this was just a taste of the lack of care and concern Carnival showed for its passengers health and wellbeing. When we stepped onto the ship, unlike other cruises, there were no lines of staff to greet or direct us. Everything was a bit chaotic, with passengers running all over the place. We were left to our own devices to find our way to our staterooms - there were no helpful staff at the stairs, by the elevators, or anywhere. THE SHIP Our first impressions of the ship were that it was impressive. Ornate decorations everywhere - the atrium was large, filled with a beautiful painting and lots of little lights everywhere. This impression, however, changed, later in the cruise. We began to realise the lack of light in public rooms, and all the decorations which, on first glance were impressive, proved to be too loud and gaudy after a while. We also started to notice how much repair the furnishings needed, a lot of wear and tear seemed apparent, and the ship is clearly in need of a refurb. CABIN When we found our staterooms we were rather underwhelmed. We had booked balcony cabins (we had previously only ever had interior and window cabins on other cruise lines), but the room appeared to be of a similar size to what we had had in the past - no bigger. Overall, we were not very impressed with our cabin. The cabin was rather run down: we noticed several threads pulling loose on the chair provided. When I went to move it from under the table (it was actually more of a stool, as it had no back), my fingers caught on something sharp, and nearly bled. The couch looked old and dowdy and had black overuse marks on it, that had either not been cleaned, or could not be cleaned. I was sharing a cabin with my brother, and a special request had been put in for two single beds when booking. This was not the case. Around 2pm on embarkation day, when we first arrived in our room, we called Guest Services to have the beds fixed properly. They told us they would notify our cabin steward. We thought we would try to see him around near the room and introduce ourselves, and let him know too. On previous cruises the cabin stewards have always shared a friendly introduction on the first day. On Carnival, ours was nowhere to be seen. When we returned to our room after exploring the ship, it had still not been done. When we returned from the safety drill, it still had not been done. We convinced ourselves that it would be fixed up while we were at dinner (late seating, 7.45pm). We went out after dinner, and returned to our cabin after 11pm only to find out that our beds had still not been changed. After calling Guest Services again, someone was sent to change the beds. This staff member barely greeted us, and acted as thought we had caused him a massive inconvenience. He took over half an hour to convert the beds, as he was unable to find the necessary bedding, and spent the time hunting through the storage space in our room, making us feel so uncomfortable that I felt compelled to leave. The other major problem we had was that we barely saw our stateroom steward, and when we did, it was always at an inconvenient time. He never appeared to be there to say hello or goodbye, a friendly practice we always experienced on other cruises. Instead, we mostly saw him when he knocked briefly and then threw our door open right before dinner. The first time this happened, we explained to him that we were at the late seating dinner, and were eating around 7.45pm, and he could come and clean our room after that. This information did not seem to sink in, as these unwanted visits continued on what felt like nearly every second night. I did not appreciate the brief knocking and immediate opening without giving us a chance to respond - especially because it happened so frequently and at a time when we were getting ready. Another problem I encountered was the sheets - they, for some reason, ended up giving me a rash all over my body. It wasn't until a change of sheets was requested that this problem was solved. I have no idea why this happened, but to me it indicates that something was wrong with the first set of sheets that we had. The extra blanket I was given also smelt strange, like cigarette smoke mixed with an op shop. We had three other issues with the room: 1) the air conditioning would sometimes randomly go freezing without us changing a setting - this was quickly remedied when we called our steward/guest services; 2) we noticed that the "fold" in the couch (where two cushions joined) was constantly filled with crumbs and appeared to not have been cleaned in a long time; and 3) my brother noticed dried up blood all over one of the "clean" towels in the bathroom. This last thing shocked and disgusted me (I never actually saw the towel myself). From that point on, paranoidly checking each and every towel over before using it. Not a fun experience. We had rooms 8209 and 8210. We would not recommend these rooms to anyone. They are under the buffet's kitchen, so all day and all night you hear thumping and rolling sounds coming from above. At certain times of the day our rooms would stink like onions, or food - this was never addressed by staff, and was very offputting (especially if/when you start to feel nauseous). DINING Dining was probably the most disappointing aspect of this cruise. The Empire dining room presented well - the problem was the menus and service. Menus ranged from average to terrible - food options were limited (only two desert items changed every night) and unappealing to many passengers. The wait time for food was ridiculous. We would wait 45 minutes just for the entrEe to come out - then the main would be served an eternity later, and waiters would then almost try to rush passengers to finish their main so they could be ready for "showtime". "Showtime", while it seemed a good idea at first, became increasingly annoying. This was mainly due to the fact that the mains were being brought out later and later as the cruise progressed, and passengers were often in the middle of eating their mains, or only being served their mains at this time. Personally, I do not like having to eat my main with people standing on top of me at a table, or with lights turned out. Really bad timing. We think this was a good idea, poorly executed. The maitre d' in the Empire dining appeared to be a very fake person, and only associated herself with her selected choice of passengers. We actually felt ignored when, one night, all tables around ours were offered glowsticks for "showtime" and we were not even approached. It was very obvious and extremely rude. After this, we stopped participating in the nightly activities. The buffet area looked impressive at first, filled with lights etc. However, it proved to be difficult to navigate (given the positioning of tables and chairs in some areas), and always had long lines at certain stations. Cutlery and plates were inconveniently placed relative to the positioning of the food. Hand sanitisers (this also goes for the dining room) were hidden away in corners, and not encouraged, as is the usual case on cruises. The staff in the buffet area were rude and obnoxious - they would not greet, they would talk loudly to each other in another language, they offered no help when questioned about the food that was being served, they never cleared tables with dirty dishes until after you had left, they frequently walked in passengers pathways and refused to move and give way to passengers. I'm not trying to suggest that they should be like servants, running out of the way of passengers but the manner in which they behaved was rude by any standards, let alone by staff who are supposed to have some level of a) customer service; and b) respect. Staff seemed to avoid communication of any sort with passengers. Apart from this, there were some serious hygiene issues. On several occasions I witnessed both adults and children digging their hands into food, while being watched by staff who did nothing. I am used to seeing passengers do this on cruises, but not watching staff stand by idly. I reported this to an officer one day, who went and spoke to the staff. I witnessed them complying, and stopping people handling food with their hands but as soon as the officer left the buffet, they went back to not caring. This combined with the lack of sanitising hands, is what, I believe, led to my family getting sick. Another worrying event I witnessed in the dining room occurred when a passenger dished some cake onto her plate, walked away from the buffet, returned and dished the cake straight back onto the serving plate because she decided she didn't want it. She even had help from the staff member on duty to dish it back onto the serving plate!!! I witnessed staff in the buffet taking half-finished serving plates of food away, and replacing them with full plates that came from somewhere under the buffet area. The staff would then take the remaining food from the original serving plate, and dish that back onto a second serving plate, and put that in the area under where the food was kept. I do not believe that the food was stored at an appropriate temperature for the duration of it being out - and who knows how long it had even been out, given all the dishing and re-dishing, standing times etc. These practices did not seem to be in line with what we, in Australia, have as food handling/safety guidelines. Aside from the hygiene issues, the food in the buffet area was not great. At best, it was lukewarm on occasion (probably due to the practices outlined above). It felt like we were eating the same food every single day, most of which was flavourless. Fruit was drained in sugar, and fruit which had not been cut up had obviously been stored for a long time and looked as though it was a day off being thrown out. Dessert consisted mainly of small cakes which tasted like packet cakes, jelly and maybe a trifle/panna cotta style dish. There were the same style pies, sausages, mashed potatoes, hamburgers fries etc every day. Asian food seemed to all taste the same with the names of it changing from day to day. Croissants for breakfast were hard and dry. The sections of the buffet we liked were the drinks section - free juices (3-4 varieties) every morning and free lemon squash and iced tea at lunch (as well as water, of course). There were also coffee machines where you could make a cappuccino, latte, hot chocolate etc at no extra charge. We also liked the Deli section, where you could get a sandwich made (though you had to order straight from the menu - any minor variation (eg "please make it with no cheese") seemed to take a good 15 minutes to explain to the person making the sandwiches) - we ended up eating here more frequently because we knew this food hadn't been touched by other passengers. The pizzeria was also good, but slow, with little explanation from staff as to how long you'd wait or whose pizza belonged to who when they came out. Food supplies were not adequate - by the last few days the ship had run out of lemonade, diet lemonade, English Breakfast Tea, fresh milk (they resorted to long life) and white sugar sachets. Seeing what the staff allowed to happen, and the poor hygiene standards that were acceptable for passengers made us wonder what standards were acceptable behind the closed doors of the kitchen. Quite simply, this aspect of the cruise was disgusting, and just for the way the dining rooms and food services were run, I would never cruise on Carnival again. ACTIVITIES We did not attend many of the daytime activities. When we did try to go to one game of Charades, we found only three other people had turned up. The staff member who was assigned to run it came over and told us that there weren't enough people to play Charades, so instead they would play "guess that song" earlier than advertised. She said we would wait 5-10 minutes to see if anyone else showed up, then start. So we decided to wait, rather than just leaving. She left us, and sat down talking to a young male passenger. Her behaviour was quite rude - rather than including all passengers (who had already been let down by a cancelled activity), she isolated herself and the male, and made us feel disinclined to be there. About 25 minutes passed, before we heard her tell a passerby that the next game would be starting in 10 minutes. At this point we got up and left - not only had the activity been cancelled, but she had been rude, lied to us, and failed to be a good hostess. We attended BINGO on several days - it was mildly entertaining, but could have been done better. There did appear to be a lot of activities that catered towards families in particular. There was a lot of karaoke in the evening, though these sessions seemed to consist of the staff member standing up and entertaining people, begging them to get up and sing, rather than people having fun. We could not understand why the cruise ship seemed to run karaoke at least once (often several times) every day given the lack of participation. The pools seemed to be popular in the daytime, especially with the children. Green Thunder, the well advertised waterslide was closed most of the time on sea days, due to the wind. I did ride it once - it was great! I enjoyed it thoroughly, though it would be nice if they put a staff member who can actually speak up the top at the operating point. ENTERTAINMENT This was very very poor and limited. We attended most of the nightly shows. It felt as thought the Carnival productions were highschool theatre shows, with dancers out of sync with each other, and singers who struggled to sing the correct notes or shouted to try and reach them. There was a very entertaining hypnotist, and an interesting mentalist. The magician brought on board was also very amateur-like - some of the tricks were easily seen through, especially as she left the "secret doors" left in positions that the audience could see them! There was only one band, a duo and 2-3 solo performers on the cruise. We did not see the solo performers, as they are not to our taste. Their routines seemed to consist of talking/comedy mixed with music. They were pianists and guitarists. The duo were absolutely hopeless. They consisted of a female singer and a male on the keyboard (plus backing music, of course). They were completely lifeless. The singer constantly read the lyrics of each and every song from her ipad. She had no emotion and looked like a student singing songs for the first time. On several occasions we, and other guests, requested songs - many of which they refused to play because they simply did not know. These songs included popular music, 80s songs etc. We actually witnessed one passenger sitting the singer down and showing her where to get the lyrics to songs on her ipad because she had no idea. I do not know how people with such a poor repertoire could be employed on a cruiseship (or at all). It would have been preferable to have a DJ playing music than listening to the two of them. The rock band, Manilla, were easily the best entertainers on board. They were lively, energetic, and could play a wide range of music. They were the crowd favourites, with "Club Cool" (the venue where they most often played) often being packed and with no seats free. They truly were the best aspect of the cruise - they made an effort to even thank people (personally) for coming to watch them. They were willing to take, and played, all requests, and worked past midnight when it suited the crowd. Unfortunately they are leaving Carnival Spirit after two more cruises not sure where they will be after that. They really did make the cruise come alive. Cruise Director Stu was perhaps the worst of all the entertainment. He was ignorant, often got tongue tied when making announcements, presentations, etc. He spoke to people as if they were children in a very condescending tone. He lacked humour or charisma. He encouraged passengers to talk to him about what they thought of the entertainment. However, when my dad provided comments to him about the lack of entertainment on formal night, he was rude and dismissive, and did not take the comments on board at all. He responded with comments to the effect of "don't tell me how to run my cruise". The least you expect from a cruise director is a 'thanks for your comment' 'we'll keep that in mind' 'sorry you feel that way' etc. We received no apologies, just defensive responses, rudeness, and lack of respect. He was so bad in handling this feedback, that my dad felt compelled to speak to his superior. It took five days before the officer could meet my dad. Luckily he was apologetic and handled the situation well. Stu was barely around for any of the activities, was not present at the "parties" they held and really seemed like a waste of time. There were two theme nights - Caribbean and Mexican. Both had deck parties that started at or after 10pm. We went up to the Caribbean deck party, but quickly left, as the roof had been left open in the area and the wind was so severe that it was impossible to sit comfortably. There appeared to be very few people participating in the dances at that party at the time we walked past. We attended the Mexican themed party and have to say that it was very poorly run. The music started, and people were left to entertain themselves as no cruise entertainment staff (other than the DJ) were around to get anything started. There was not a real party atmosphere - once again, bar staff were scarce. At this point, there was not much difference between this "party" and just a person playing music that was semi-Mexican themed up on deck (ie like a sail away). When the staff finally did arrive, they distributed trinkets amongst a small group of people. They led about 4 dances, and then disappeared. What a waste of time and effort! They were not there to start the party and welcome people, or to even run it! The other bad part about these parties was that the cruise ship ran dance classes to teach dances that would be done at each party. However, the dance classes were held so far in advance (5 days in the case of the Mexican one) that no-one remembered any of the steps - including the staff who were meant to be demonstrating them on the night. If the staff had not been in uniform or up on stage, they could easily have been mistaken for passengers stumbling around trying to figure out what to do. PORTS We had no complaints with any of the ports. We had visited all of them before, so we did not purchase shore excursions, and instead chose to do our own thing. The South Pacific islands were beautiful and very relaxing. The annoying thing about the ports was that Carnival provided no map of the ports, and no details as to the weather, which made planning for the next day difficult. The port information provided by Carnival was scarce and not really helpful at all. The tendering process seemed to go smoothly. We didn't have to wait very long for tenders either leaving or returning to the ship, and we were happy with that (though we left the ship much later than most of the passengers, so I cannot speak for the early tenders which appear to have been more popular). The only annoying part was the lack of information provided over the PA system or by announcement as to which ports were tender ports, and which were not, and where to leave the ship from if there were no tenders. You also had to figure out when to return by yourself (in the newsletter) as there were no reminders given by staff or available as you left the ship. SERVICES Here I will speak mainly about the medical services onboard. I realise that this may not be the top of ones list of concerns, however we did not expect to get sick onboard, and did not expect to be in need of these services either. Our family always washes and sanities our hands, however on a ship where hygiene levels are so pathetically low, it is hard to protect yourself completely. My mother, father and I ended up with norovirus. My mother was so bad, at one point, that she had to be taken to the medical centre by wheelchair. I am not sure how many times my parents visited the medical centre - personally I visited it twice, and called it on 3 occasions. Never once was any of us allowed to see a doctor. We were willing and able to pay the fees, but instead we were shoved off to nurses. The nurses listened to us, but did not tell us what exactly was wrong with us. It was only after my dad was feeling better and taking my mother to the centre that he was able to push and push for information and finally got the words 'norovirus' from the staff. Personally, I was given seasick tablets, anti-cramping tablets and Imodium - all at different occasions as different symptoms arose. At no time was I given any proper examination - the most that was done was my temperature was taken. I don't know if this is the usual procedure, but it certainly isn't at my local doctor. I was told to eat only "boring foods". When I questioned what exactly this involved, the nurse finally told me breads, rices, white meats and soups. I had to question the nurse on every food (ie red meat, fruit, juice, coffee etc) to see if I could or couldn't eat it. I really didn't want to be sick again. After I took the tablets for one day, I started to feel better (not 100% better, just mostly better - I was still running a fever). I contacted the medical centre by phone and a nurse told me I had no need to go into the medical centre, I could just stop taking the tablets and go on as normal. This was a huge mistake, as I was not actually better, and I fell sick again. I contacted the medical centre again, and received a letter the next day saying I was in isolation. I did not mind this as I didn't want to leave my room anyway. The letter promised that proper food would be sent to my room. When none came, and I contacted the centre, they told me that I wasn't meant to be in isolation, and food would not be sent to my room unless I ordered and paid for it by room service. This appeared to contradict what was written in the letter. Effectively, Carnival was saying if I got sick I'd have to pay for my food that was prescribed by them. On the topic of food - my parents got sick before I did. My mother had been instructed to eat only clear non-vegetable soups and bread. My dad was fine, but wanted to stay with mum in the cabin. My brother and I attended dinner in the dining room, wanting to order food for our parents to be sent up to their room. We didn't think this would be a problem, as we had done this before on other cruise ships. This was not to be the case on Carnival - our waiter had to pull some strings with her manager to get my dad's meal brought up. We were told that this was a one off and food would not be allowed to leave the dining room again. She was apologetic and it seemed to be something outside of her control. We couldn't understand the big deal with preparing a meal that would otherwise have been prepared anyway. The waiter then informed us that the menu did not include any non-vegetable soups that night and the kitchen could not prepare anything not on the menu for my mother. If my mother wanted to eat anything, she would have to order it from room service. We were surprised that such a simple request could not be fulfilled, and that it had taken such a battle to get a meal from the menu sent up. In the end, the wait staff refused to leave the dining room, insisting that we would have to take our dads meal to him instead. There was a complete lack of empathy shown by the staff, and also a lack of willingness to do anything outside of their assigned duties. The issues with the food while sick were particularly annoying because we felt we had become sick due to Carnival's poor hygiene standards, yet we were being punished and forced to pay for food (which would otherwise have been available freely). The last straw and worse part of the ordeal happened on the morning of debarkation. My mother and father were over their sickness by this stage. I was awake all through the last night feeling sick. I could not sleep and became terribly weak. I felt terrible and in the morning desperately asked my mother to let me see the doctor. The response from the medical centre was that we were in Sydney, and that they "could not" see me. Really, it was just a refusal. They said the best they could do was wait for me to get my things together and walk off the ship and they would call an ambulance to pick me up from the dock. I was feeling very ill, but not to the point where I needed an ambulance. We were shocked at the refusal to see me or provide any medication. My mother stayed on the phone and argued with them til they finally agreed to give me some sort of medication so I could comfortably make it off the ship. They provided Imodium again, and that was all. I was truly surprised at the attitude shown by the medical staff. They refused flat out to send a doctor to assist a sick patient, and showed zero empathy, and provided little to no information to patients, just providing them with tablets and unclear instructions. I honestly don't know who gets to see the doctor, if not people who are sick and in need of assistance. SUMMARY I realise that my review of our trip on Carnival Spirit has been very comprehensive. I have tried to include as much detail of our experiences as possible, so that people can be aware of experiences that have been had onboard. I hope that this is informative for those considering booking with Carnival. I only wish that we had known how bad it would be before we booked. I'm in no way suggesting that everything was bad - there were good points about this cruise - the destinations, the drinks provided for free and maybe one or two other things I've mentioned above. However, in our opinions the lack of hygiene, poor performances on the part of the staff, and lack of medical assistance is enough to make us sure that we would never ever cruise with Carnival again, and never ever recommend them to anyone.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
As a repositioning cruise, 3 days was a great way to know whether the Sprit would be added to our cruise repetoire. Sadly, We made up our minds not to return before we were even onboard Since we are used to embarking around lunch time ... Read More
As a repositioning cruise, 3 days was a great way to know whether the Sprit would be added to our cruise repetoire. Sadly, We made up our minds not to return before we were even onboard Since we are used to embarking around lunch time on most cruises, we were not impressed to have to wait till 4 pm to check-in. When asked why we had to wait till then, I was told first in first served, so the earliest you check in online, the earliest you get onboard. Hmm interesting! Then when we checked in, my husband was given a different card to me. Seems that they just forgot that we had both cruised with Carnival before. When we went to change the card - since he got a free drink and I didn't - it took over 30 mins with the staff member apologising constantly that the computers were very slow! Dear me Carnival, bit out of date are we! As we would be staying for a week in melbourne and visiting our friends, we had 2 reds in the back pack. Carnival took these off us when they spotted them on xray! Not that that worried us as we had no intention to open them onboard but most cruise lines allow at least 1 bottle of wine/person, so grow up Carnival! We arrived in our cabin and were pleasantly surprised. Knowing that carnival cabins are a good size, we had a great aft cabin with a large balcony. This made our exit from Sydney, very enjoyable. As we often sit on our balcony and read, our balcony was well used on this trip. The decor on the Spirit has got to be seen to be believed. With an Egyptian theme and a mixture of 'cheapish' art deco, with low ceilings, I found this ship dark and quite depressing, making the other light, bright ships that also spend a lot of time downunder, to be much more palatable On the subject of the palate, the food on this ship was not much better than the old Coles cafeteria that i visited as a child, I had sushi for lunch in the dining room and the rice was gluey and disgusting, like it was left over from the night before. Another time I had a cold beef salad and found the 'salad' had obviously been sitting so drenched in dressing for some time that it had totally drowned and recusitation was not possible - ugh !! The slices of beef were actually tender and nice but unfortunately the service and quality were just not up to a reasonable standard, so I ate each time with intrepidation! Every meal had a mixture of both edible and inedible food served up! The quality of the buffet upstairs was reasonable but it took time to find food as everything was quite scattered around. Unbelievably, there was no decaf coffee - again the only ship that did not provide decafe from the urns. if you wanted a non caffeine drink, you had to find the herbal tea , which again was not always easy to find Entertainment - well the 2nd night production show was excellent - better than I have seen in a long time amongst different ships BUT where was the entertainment on day 1 and 3 - not even a juggler. The comedy shows in the lounge next door to the theatre were on every night and it would appear that comedy is the theme of the the Spirit. Sorry, not my scene Carnival, although I admit the family show on the last night was quite amusing. On the other hand, the comedy brunch was pathetic - 5 mins of comedic repartee with a 'normal' breakfast. Oh my, perhaps Carnival staff could visit other ships that offer a brunch and learn what a real one looks like! The Captains celebration - what a farce!. This was the only ship we have been on that did not have the Captain introduce his staff from a podium and give a few words. Instead he 'mingled' with passengers shaking their hands and chatting briefly. There was no champagne and canapes as is usual on all other ships and the only celebrating that was done was by the odd single girl dancing on the dance floor in front of the bar on level 2. All drinks had to be got by going to the bar. I did not see any waiters walking around taking orders - self service all the way! And then there is the price for the cocktails - wow - $10 for most Well, I have said enough, even though i could go on listing more negatives. In summary, Carnival Spirit is a ship providing budget food and service at a non budget price. When people asked if we had done many cruises, I answered "yes" and followed up with, " please don't base your opinion of cruising on this ship". This ship is below the standard of other ships including other Carnival ships and we will not be back. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Firstly,let me say that everyone deserves to have fun on a cruise. And families with children seemed to do just that. But sailing in the school holidays is not for the elderly. The only reason we took this cruise is that it was a family ... Read More
Firstly,let me say that everyone deserves to have fun on a cruise. And families with children seemed to do just that. But sailing in the school holidays is not for the elderly. The only reason we took this cruise is that it was a family cruise with my daughter, husband and grand children.And Having said that we heard several young couples with children saying that they would not cruise again in the school holidays. And the fact that we had huge numbers of the rudest,bad mannered children on board didn't help either. Now, for the ship itself. It is a smart looking ship with some very nice areas including the Serenity, Atrium and the main auditorium. With the exception of the main auditorium the decor was shabby.We had an extended balcony which was quite large but the cabin didn't have that "Wow" factor. The bathroom was quite dull and with none of the usual toiletries present. And as a small tip, if you are considering buying an extended balcony keep it in mind that there is no privacy at the rail as all the other balconies above are looking down onto yours. The dining was a mixed bag going from one extreme to another. The Nouvelle Specialty restaurant was something special but would want to be at $35 pp, but it was a treat to get away from the crowds. The main dining was okay. Pretty quick service and some nice meals were had there. Fat Jimmy's BBQ was good on the few time it was open But now what about the LaPlaya Grill ( buffet), easily the most dis functional buffet of any ship I have been on.Long queues unless you went outside of peak times but then most of it was shut down. In the evening the buffet consisted of a two metre long Bain- Marie of hot food and a salad bar. The only 24/7 food was the Pizza bar. And if you like room service, forget it.No room service from the dining room and as an example, if you wanted a hamburger and a cup of tea in your cabin that will be $8 thankyou. As for entertainment, there wasn't much to rave about. Five comedians, a singer and a magician was all. Movies on demand in your cabin were an outrageous $11 each and not to mention the most annoying singer in the casino while I was trying to concentrate loosing money as usual. Sorry Keith, you were horrible. And as for the Casino I think Carnival will have to address the issue of children in that area. Children were witnessed pressing buttons on poker machines. And almost finally,there was no deckchairs on the promenade deck. And the most outrageous beer prices ever. $6.95 for a XXXX To sum up. Don't be sucked in with the cabin credits as you will need these to compensate for higher than normal prices for beer, room service , movies and I almost forgot, $10 to play pool. And 1.5 percent charge on your debit card. Maybe they should slap a big P&O on the side and make it another "booze cruiser" So, if this is the best Carnival can do RCCL,Princess and the others have nothing to worry about Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
THE GOOD - The ship was pleasant, kept clean and tidy, plentiful food (just hard to fight your way to). Ports were lovely and staff approachable. THE BAD - Not much to do on sea days, the same offerings for activities just repeated ... Read More
THE GOOD - The ship was pleasant, kept clean and tidy, plentiful food (just hard to fight your way to). Ports were lovely and staff approachable. THE BAD - Not much to do on sea days, the same offerings for activities just repeated over and over. Bored of bean bag toss etc. THE UGLY - Never seen so many dreadfully behaved children. Parents need to be approached, for the comfort of other people, and advised to discipline or at least keep watch on their children, not to let them go crazy all over the ship. The teens and younger just formed little gangs, and were in the lovely phaoroahs palace standing on the tables, jumping over furniture and putting their shoes up on the glass screens, whilst we waited for bingo to begin. Parents let 5 year olds roam the stairs and lifts, all with 2500 strangers on board. Witnessed a young girl with her mother, who tried to enter a glass lift, and knocked over a glass of coke, spilling it everywhere. Two young boys found it amusing to sit in the lifts and ride them up and down, sitting on the floor with their drinks. The poor little girl ran out crying as she thought she would be in trouble. The teen girls also were in gangs, and they completely ruined my and my daughters holiday. They were staring, pointing and whispering and laughing at other young girls who weren't in their gang. My daughter was victimized and it deeply upset her, as she is a very shy girl. THE EXCELLENT - The staff that I dealt with were wonderful, from guest relations to the room steward. They work so hard for so little pay or rest, and they put most aussies to shame. They leave their families for 7 or so months, and they have to clean those rooms, waiting for people to leave, and then do it again in the evening, with very little time off. I can only imagine the state of the rooms that they would have to deal with. The entertainment staff were also terrific and hardworking. Stu gets a bad rap, as he never seemed to sleep! I did this cruise with my 12 year old, quiet, and now most obviously well-brought up daughter, for my 50th Birthday. We had previously started with two p and o cruises, and then did the radiance of the seas. I would go on the radiance again in a heartbeat, much better behaved adults and children, just can't compare carnival in any way to royal carribbean, as they are worlds apart. What should have been a fun and wonderful time, was so sadly disappointing. I thought that being in school holidays, it would be a great time for my daughter to have fun and make some friends. The circle c group was always abandoned, and these young kids were also in gangs roaming the ship. Met a few really nice people, and really enjoyed the shore tours, especially the flying fox in suva, although they were all, as previously stated, highly overpriced. Stu did a great job, always affable and smiling, probably under extreme duress at times, and he never stopped. He is obviously a nice guy all round, even out of work times, as I saw him in my local newsagency in my small country home town, and he was just as pleasant and willing to chat as he appeared onboard. Gayve tried so hard to keep the kids in the bingo lounge under control, good luck with that Gayve, and he even endured the computer breakdown again and happily did the bingo the old fashioned way. That's about it for now, live and learn I guess (and spend way too much money). Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
I booked this cruise knowing full well it was going to be family orientated. I travelled with my 16 year old son hoping he would enjoy the O2 club and meet new people. The club style and atmosphere didn't suit him (and quite a few ... Read More
I booked this cruise knowing full well it was going to be family orientated. I travelled with my 16 year old son hoping he would enjoy the O2 club and meet new people. The club style and atmosphere didn't suit him (and quite a few kids we met of the same age said the same thing) so we spent time together and he eventually met up with kids his age outside of the O2 club which was fine. We met up with other families and had a great time socially and on our own. There were reportedly 471 kids on this trip and if that was true they were quite well behaved with just a few "runners" and "lift button pushers" but on the whole they were just kids having a great holiday and enjoying themselves. One or two foul mouthed teens tried their best to shock fellow passengers with expletives or inappropriate conversations, but you will find these types where ever you go - nothing to do with the ship. We just moved on out of their way. There were no kids running amok, lying wet in the lifts, fighting, no under age drinking etc. as has been reported on previous cruises - so no complaints there. Just be aware this cruise is for families, if you don't like kids, choose another ship - preferably one that doesn't have a water slide and certainly don't cruise in the school holidays. If you have a family and want a fun time this ship is for you. You will love it. Singles - look elsewhere! We had an Ocean View cabin with an extended balcony. Well worth the money with loads of space, separate dressing room/walk-in robe with dressing table with Hollywood lights. Bathroom had a spa bath with a glass shower screen (big plus, no plastic curtain) and double vanity - all in marble. The cabin also had a settee, table and chair, more cupboard space,lots of mirrors, bar with fridge, beautiful big balcony,and excellent black out curtains which kept us in complete darkness in the morning - fantastic. The pillows are to die for (duck down I believe)and the beds are fabulous - mega comfort, so good - ahhhh. The entertainment was quite good especially the comedians in the Versailles Lounge - they were really funny. Unfortunately they weren't on every night which was a shame. Trevor the pianist in the Shanghai Piano Bar was fantastic playing sing-a-long requests with a huge crowd each night- great fun. Can't guarantee that he will be on any other cruises though. I didn't make all the shows but those I saw were not bad. They had a roaming magician in the dining room as well - he was very good. Bingo was the biggest attraction during the day, drew a huge crowd though the prize money wasn't fantastic considering the numbers - biggest prize was $1,100.00. But it was all in good fun. The food was plentiful in the Laplaya buffet on the Lido deck and so were the crowds so it was best not to eat at peak times when the lines were very long, especially at the Asian food counter. Freshly prepared stir fries often with seafood was the attraction there I think. Equally popular (maybe too popular judging by some of the passengers) was the desert bar - Wow they had some good stuff and fruit salad as well. On the last day they had a chocolate extravaganza with a chocolate fountain - the queue was out the door! The only complaint was they had very prompt closing times - not a minute over curfew, so don't leave it too late or you will miss out. Mind you 24 hour Pizza was available and the Deli which had excellent toasted sandwiches and wraps was most of the time. My main complaint was with the food in the main dining room - the Empire - we had anytime dining so I don't know if that was the problem but the food was, more often than not, just luke warm. Also the steak I ordered one night was inedible, it was cold and oddly didn't taste like steak at all, I had to send it back - a first for me! And they had some very strange food combinations that just didn't sit well with each other - so a few problems with the menu as well. The fish was generally overcooked, dry and had bones in it so I stopped ordering that. What they did excel at was the Indian dish on offer every night - spot on! Oh and lets not forget the Chocolate Melting Pudding for desert every night - yum yum. Service was very prompt - both drinks and food - no waiting. If the food had been hotter it would have been perfect. I didn't get round to trying the Nouvelle Steak Restaurant ($35.00 each) as my son isn't a big steak eater so it would have been a waste of money. I was tempted by the menu and most other passengers said it was great and worth the extra money. After all that food it was time to hit the gym - which was excellent - but my son was disappointed that they didn't have any barbells (whatever they are) just dumbbells - so he had to make to with the machines, but he was pretty happy with that as they had so many of them. I did the circuit class - on every day at 5 - not that I went every day, but we had a regular group and it was fun, free and vigorous. So that leaves us with trying to get a sun lounge - very hit and miss. I absolutely gave up on the "Serenity Lounge" impossible to find anywhere to sit with some people lying fully stretched out on the lounges leaving no space for anyone else. Don't even think about getting to try the hammock! Also not a lot of shade available here either. Around the two pools it was also very busy with most spaces taken up on a sunny day, but you could find something every now and then. The two spas were always full - not very appealing to me but obviously everyone else thought they were great. Also the two pools (salt water) were very popular as were the water slides. Not that I tried them but my son did and was very impressed with the Green Thunder which was open most days. I was impressed with the queuing system here as they kept the kids off the open stairways (out of the sun) until it was nearly their turn to go on the slide - now that's thinking! But of course it gave the impression that the queue wasn't very long - it was - you just couldn't see it. We had some wonderful shore tours - only booked one through the ship at Noumea to Duck Island. Got there on a Zodiac which was fun. The others we just "winged" it. The best was the jet skiing we booked when we got off the ship at Port Denerau - a bus picked us up and took us to the Sheraton Resort where the jet skis were and then we spent the rest of the day at the resort. We used their pool, had lunch and probably had the best shore day ever apart from Lifou. You must check out the "cave" at Lifou where you jump into an impossibly dark fresh water pool only guided by locals with torches. Much fun - but quite hard work getting down to the "cave". So overall we had a great time and would highly recommend this ship for families with kids of all ages. Staff were great as were the facilities. Always difficult to leave such indulgences and return home to reality! Oh and did I mention the Long Island Iced Tea cocktail - do try one (or two)highly recommended! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We've sailed on Princess, Rhapsody and some P&O cruises so I'm comparing the ship to them. Overall I wouldn't sail with Carnival again as they don't compete. We had 3 kids 16, 13,11. There always some good points ... Read More
We've sailed on Princess, Rhapsody and some P&O cruises so I'm comparing the ship to them. Overall I wouldn't sail with Carnival again as they don't compete. We had 3 kids 16, 13,11. There always some good points and bad so I will explain on each. An exhaustive embarkation about one and half hrs. The cabins were good and quite large. The cabin and restaurant staff good. Food in the restaurant good. The buffet food was just OK but the area was a ludicrous design. 8 buffet counters serving different types of food each with its own queue. So then everyone is wondering around each counter trying to find food they liked and then search for a spare table to eat cold food. The night time shows are good but the daily activities are non-existent, catering for the elderly over 70s, bridge and dance classes or American trivia. My kids mainly sat in their rooms. The movies, all 2 of them, The Castle and Ballroom Dancing too old and replayed over and over. We could have loaned them DVDs from home to show on TV or the cinema. We heard some performers missed flights and gained others, we had 2 hypnotists. The staff had no enthusiasm and wanted to cut game activities short to get back to their chores at doing nothing. Stu the cruise director is just as lame. We spoke to lot of passengers saying the same thing. No need to pay for shore excursions, just hire a taxi to show you around the sights, a lot cheaper and they know what everyone wants to see. No chance of getting a pod (private lounge) on deck as the pod people reserved them all day and night. They slept them over night.They should have a time limit as it would have been nice to try one, for even 10 min. The 2 slides are ok for the first 10 rides but there was only 3 of us using it and we still had to wait for each to have their turn. Would hate to see if the ship had more kids than the 50 that was on our cruise. The design of the ship is dated, not a large atrium with no real atmosphere, also around the pool area. A lot better now with ships having a large screen on deck. Last to mention was the running out of the popular beers after the first 3 days, a lot of unhappy Aussies. This ship better pick up its act to compete with the rest of the world. I suspect they dont care as I feel they think the Aussies dont know any different. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
This was mine and my husbands' third cruise with Carnival and only Carnival. It started off bad when we called Carnival several times to make sure we did not need a passport..we were told No every time but they failed to mention that ... Read More
This was mine and my husbands' third cruise with Carnival and only Carnival. It started off bad when we called Carnival several times to make sure we did not need a passport..we were told No every time but they failed to mention that we would need a passport for most excursions. So we were left with excursions we weren't interested in. The Carnival employees at the Seattle airport and the bus driver were friendly. We got to our room & wanted to make lunch with not much time but we wanted to leave our expensive belongings in the safe. Fifteen minutes later we give up and lug all our stuff to the lunch buffet but beforehand we pass by our room steward & he said he'd fixed it..the culprit was a bad battery. That thing I will mention woke us up at random times at night going off. Because my husband is in the military doesn't get a lot of time to designate to when he takes a vacation we didn't plan this vacation but a week in advance which meant getting the second to last room available. My biggest problem with this cruise was that we paid a lot to have the balcony (which was all that was available) and we hardly ever got to use it because nine times out of ten we had to smell cigarette smoke. I am allergic to cigarette smoke and I find it a disgusting smell. So the balcony was a waste of $650 extra money spent. During this seven day cruise all we saw was one humpback whale (this was a treat), a few bald eagles and two bears, one far away from the ship and one in a port. We were expecting to see a lot of different animals and I'm afraid I would have fared better going to the mountains an hour away from where I live. It was overcast the first three days and overcast here and there with the rest of the cruise. Again, I think that the time we went on the cruise wouldn't have been my choice. It was pretty cold as well. The food? I am quite the adventurous eater in that I like to try odd and new things but doing so every day got to be too much. One thing that was ridiculous is that for breakfast and lunch we had a hard time finding a place to eat because people were either occupying tables to sightsee or play cards. So we ate either in the lido smoking section or in our room. I think Carnival should mention daily for passengers to be polite and courteous of other diners. Simple concept. One particular busy lunch my husband and I and a few others were standing to the side to let some other diners go by and all of a sudden I am whacked by a door..so hard I lost my balance. I was told by the Carnival employee to not stand there because of the door. I felt she was unprofessional to not apologize..not to mention there are portholes so she might want to look out the window. Had it been a child or a small adult they would have been harmed. Our room was cleaned up of dishes sporadically. One cup of juice sat in our room for three days, of course we could have emptied it but we left it there as it was a running joke. The last night our bed was not made, the dishes taken away because our room steward was too busy helping with other passengers taking the luggage down..I'm assuming. Between the cigarette smoke on our balcony (and it seemed to waft outside our room door the whole time) and Carnival seeming to only care about the almighty dollar we will not be cruising on a Carnival ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Ages 43 and 51. Like traveling independently in port. 13th cruise, 2nd Carnival.We have sailed a number of different lines. Embarkation was terrible. 2.5 hours. Not sure if this has more to do with the port or Carnival. Probably a little ... Read More
Ages 43 and 51. Like traveling independently in port. 13th cruise, 2nd Carnival.We have sailed a number of different lines. Embarkation was terrible. 2.5 hours. Not sure if this has more to do with the port or Carnival. Probably a little of both. This was our first balcony cabin and we really took advantage of it. We had a pot of coffee delivered every morning. This is a good ship to score a balcony cabin for a very fair price. The room was nice size but tacky. but that could describe the whole ship. We had the best steward (Tri) that we could remember. He never disturbed us, and our room was always perfect. We did not use any of the amenities except the gym-which we loved. Probably my favorite if all cruises. They said it was recently remodeled. Oh that and the slide. We went down the huge green slide which was terrifying, but mercifully over quickly. We did not go to any shows-too corny. The few times we listened to the musicians play, they sounded like a high school band. The show band and a good singer came out for the return guest party. The singer was great! I heard the comedian railed on all the obese people on board. WOW. I am surprised he did not get tossed overboard given the majority of the guests had not missed a meal any time lately- or ever. Food really WELL below average. The last time we sailed Carnival in 2001, the food was pretty decent. This was as bad as our MSC Mediterranean cruise, and possibly worse than our second Norwegian...which is bad. However the sandwich grill station pretty good-particularly corned beef and pastrami. I don't eat gluten, so I did not have the bread but these 2 meats were pretty decent quality. A couple meals were pretty decent on formal night (Lobster and prime rib). Not a good choice of sugar free desserts so we opted for cheese plates for several desserts. At one point in the daily cruise letter, they had to say robes are not permitted in the main dining room. Yes, the main dining room. I AM NOT KIDDING. Don't bother dressing up for this one. People came to dinner in the MDR in shorts, vulgar tshirts, holey sweats, flip flops, baseball hats. On the two "cruise elegant nights most people actually decided to bathe and put on clean clothes for dinner, which was a welcome sight and smell. For the most part as you wish dining was slow and disorganized. We dined at the steakhouse on the first night ($30 each, free bottle of wine if you are there the first night). The starters were very ordinary. My tuna tartar was still frozen, the lobster bisque underwhelming. The steaks-Cowboy and Ribeye were excellent and definitely high end in quality. I regret that I was almost full when I got mine , because they were far better than the rest of the meal. Ensenada- not much to see. We will try and book an independent snorkel trip next time. Great massages ($40 hour) at a spa in town. It was called Massage and Facial Care 743 Lopez Mateos. Its down the street from McDonalds, which you cannot miss. We both agreed it was one of the best massages we had ever had. There was a shuttle from the ship into town-$2 in, $1 to return. Sea Day 1- spotty weather. Decided to do the wine tasting with food pairing ($15). We both found the experience interesting and educational. If you do this, make sure you do not "come hungry" as noted in the description. It is 4 small bites of food. Cabo san Lucas- Loved it both days. Upon arriving to the anchorage area (the ship tenders) you get a beautiful look of lands end, and as a bonus we saw dozens of dolphin's jumping as well as numerous whale spouts. Waiting for the tender was not bad. The first day the tours got off first, but in no time independent travelers were off. Day 1 -took a water taxi ($2 each I believe. It was sponsored by one of the beach bars) to Medano Beach and enjoyed a complimentary lounges and umbrellas at Billygen's Island (no charge "just eat, drink and tip us" said with a smile). Beach was great, beautiful clear water, vendors a little annoying, some jelly fish that day. Lots of boats and jet skis so you had to stay in the little swimming area which was fine. Cabo day 2. We usually never take cruise tours, but we had not really done our research and took the lazy way out and book the Santa Carolina and Chileno Bay snorkel. I was thrilled to only have 8 other people on our zodiac. The first stop was beautiful, but the water had more jelly fish than I had ever seen. Some stung worse than others. Other than the 2 people in full wet suits we made a hasty retreat out of the water. The next site had no jelly fish and was also beautiful. While it was very nice to get in the water, the snorkeling is not anywhere as amazing as much of the Caribbean. Water temps are also cooler. We had rash guards which helped. We saw whales from afar on twice on the way out, but coming back we go extremely close(about 50 ft) to 3 humpbacks. It really made the experience memorable. We then walked into town and hoped to find another spa as good as the one in Ensenada for a massage. It seems $20 an hour was the going rate, so we decided to go for it. Lets just say they tried to upsell my husband's massage, and leave it at that. We imagined how some poor lonely guy would go for it, and probably get shaken down...Anyway we ended up finding the best margarita ever at a place called the Monkey Bar, a little outdoor bar. The bartender squeezed the juices for it to order. Then a vendor comes by with a little cooler on a wagon, and I see a couple locals make a beeline over to him. So I am thinking this has got to be good...but my palate is so much more daring than my stomach. Do I play Russian roulette with my gut this early in my vacation? He was preparing and selling aqua chile to order. Aqua chile is basically fresh raw shrimp dressed (but not lime"cooked" ceviche)with fresh lime, habanero peppers, onion and cucumber. I pulled the trigger and won. Had the best dish of the entire cruise. Puerto Vallerta- The first thing we noticed was how hot and humid it was so we decided to check out a beach near port. Unfortunately the beach was not as attractive as Cabo, and the resorts fronting the beach wanted to charge $35 per person for a lounge. Water was murky looking and not worth it. Back to ship, took a dip in the pool, ate and took shuttle into old town ($12, because they only charges us as much as if there were people sharing the van, on the way back we found it would be $24 for a cab) . The city was interesting and enjoyable, took a shaded walk along the river. We took the city bus (5 pesos/ ~40 cents apiece) back to the ship. If we were to go again, we would take the bus into town as well as back. You can catch it up on the main road. I am thinking they would take US $ but the exchange rate would not be good! Manzanillo- industrial city. Cloaked in haze/pollution. But still an interesting town, not really set up for mass tourism, which actually made it kind nice to check out local places not geared toward tourists. Once again the water looked murky so we passed on going to the beach and trying to snorkel. 2 sea days-relaxing and pleasant! The adults only Serenity Lounge area is great. Although I did notice too much reserving of chairs. Also some ingrates had a boom box blaring country music one of the days. I guess they do not know what "serenity" means. While too numerous to count....Tacky/gross things seen: a man who shaved (electric razor) daily on a table at on the lido deck. Whisker hair flying everywhere. A lady removing and rinsing her food clogged dentures in the bathroom. The couple eating in their robes and slippers in the lido dining room. What, no curlers? Teens wearing pajamas and slipper to breakfast. Some of the ships photographers were pretty good. We purchased 2 photos which is 2 more than we have ever purchased. Get ready for this- who ever finished the pictures blacked out one of my teeth (A different tooth in each) in 2 different shots. I thought I was seeing things until I overheard another women saying she liked one of her photos but "I have a tooth missing in it-and I don't have a missing tooth" . I probably should have said something to the staff, but then who cares? I guess someone had to channel some passive aggressive energy. Lets just hope they don't work in the kitchen too... In the end we much prefer cruising the Caribbean, Yucatan, and Mediterranean. The snorkeling is better in the former 2 and culture, food more varied in the latter. Not that Baja does not have culture or great food, but it is hard to experience this without being overly hassled by vendors. But being able to walk to the cruise terminal from our home has its advantages, so we probably will sail again to Baja at some point.I would have been disappointed if I had flown to this cruise. Although we already have another Carnival booked (we endured a timeshare presentation to get a free 4 night cruise), we will probably not sail Carnival again after that given how unpalatable the food was. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Our dissatisfaction with Carnival started on our last cruise before this one, 7 day Western Caribbean on the Dream Dec. 10th. We noticed then that the service, the attitude, and the entertainment offerings had diminished since our last ... Read More
Our dissatisfaction with Carnival started on our last cruise before this one, 7 day Western Caribbean on the Dream Dec. 10th. We noticed then that the service, the attitude, and the entertainment offerings had diminished since our last cruises three years prior. Plus, I came down with the cruise viris and was very very ill for two weeks after that cruise. So, it was with trepidation that we decided to go ahead with this Hawaii cruise which we had already booked in advance. We did think, that since we were now Platinum, we would get better service. But, as noted in other reviews, the embarkation was horrendous. We were told we could board early, so we got to the pier early. Big mistake. We waited four hours amidst mass confusion and continual lines, before we were finally given the go ahead to board. The whole process was messed up, including the lack of any information about what the hold up was. Then once aboard, the ship did not sail until well after 11 pm. Again, all seemed disorganized on the dock with loading of supplies and luggage. Our luggage was damaged in this process. And, when we asked for assistance with it, we were told there was nothing they could do for us...we would have to file a claim once we got back home. We were looking for a temporary repair to make the suitcase usable for our flight home. The first thng we did was book the "Behind the Scenes" tour, that we really wanted to see. But, it was delayed once..and then finally cancelled, with little explanation. That was disappointing. The ship was supposed to have a new slide functioning during our cruise, and that opening was postponed, and finally cancelled. The Spirit obviously was not ready for sailing after it's "rehab". The cabin upgrade we were supposed to receive from Carnival ( since there was a $600 decrease in fare from the time we booked and paid to the time of sailing) was a disappointment as well. The so called extended balcony as just a bit larger than normal, and it had one side blocked so we could only see aft or straight ahead. We did not consider this an upgrade at all, but a worse view than we would have had if we were in our original cabin one deck higher. So, definitely not a $600 value...when we conplained, we were told there was nothing they could do for us. We would have been happy with a bit of onboard credit and an appology. But, the service desk staff seemed uncaring about our displeasure. The staff was unenthusiastic, with the exception of one or two who actually called us by name, and were friendly. The food was good. We are not fussy, and only ate in the main dining room one night, so mostly frequented the buffets. Again, the staff there seemed less than enthusiastic, especially the pizza guy, who was not accomodating at all, and acted as if we were bothering him when we ordered. The shows were mediocre, at best. Not up to the shows we have seen in the past on other Carnival cruises. Since the weather was rough crossing the Pacific, there was little outside deck activities, and we spent alot of time playing cards and bingo. There were not alot of planned activities to occupy 8 days at sea. We relaxed, which was a good thing. But, we expected more activities planned by the staff or at least some decent movies in our room. Our biggest complaint was the terrible mattress in ourcabin. It was bowed in the middle, and hard as a rock. Must have been original to the ship. Never has my back hurt so bad from a bad night's sleep! Our steward tried, twice, to do something to fluff it up and make it more comfortable...but to no avail. The ship needs new mattresses! Hawaii is beautiful, and afterall, that is why we took this trip. But, I felt that we did not have long enough days in port to enjoy it to its fullest. The ship's excursions were overpriced, compared to what we could find on our own, but with the short port times, we were limited as to what we could do. The stop in Ensenada was a waste of time for the couple of hours we spent there. Disembarkation went okay for us, since we were amongst the first to leave. But, there definitely was a lack of communication about when we were to depart, and almost missed getting off with the first group. All in all, I would not recommend this cruise on this ship to anyone. We had a good time with the folks we met onboard, and in the ports. We made our own good time relaxing and enjoying the scenery and the company. But, Carnival did not make that happen. We did. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I would like to critique my experience on my first Carnival on Carnival Spirit to Paridise or so I thought. It was one incident after another, with Carnival Cruise line. Let me add that we have taken several cruises on Princess, Royal ... Read More
I would like to critique my experience on my first Carnival on Carnival Spirit to Paridise or so I thought. It was one incident after another, with Carnival Cruise line. Let me add that we have taken several cruises on Princess, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruise line. I have never experienced, the unacceptable operations, planning and initial service this ship displayed. My first experience with this cruise was to wait in line outside the San Diego terminal for over ninety minutes (this is after arriving at 1100 for a 1200 boarding) only to get inside to wait again for approx. 45 min, to wait again in another line to be signed in for your room and documentation and room card. At this time I was given a number only to wait again to get into another line to take pictures before boarding. I became very sick while waiting in line and I was allowed to not take the welcome aboard picture and board. The entire process would have resulted in over a three and a half hours before getting on the ship to find our 15 day cruise was now turning into a 14 day cruise. This all because Carnival planned poorly and their guests had to wait until 1130PM before we departed San Diego while provisions were being loaded, and then Carnival had the nerve to charge San Diego sales tax on alcohol while we waited in port to depart, missing the departure from San Diego . (totally unacceptable). It was not my fault Carnival had issues, and had to depart late. Carnival did not even apologize for the inconvenience nor did the acknowledge they did anything wrong. Second: my luggage never came up to the room, if my husband did not visit guest services and find my luggage sitting there, I am not sure when I would have received it. Third: I have always believed that a person who gets a good night sleep is a happier person. My side of the bed was so uncomfortable I have been sleeping on the couch, the steward put two egg crate foam covers to try to help the situation, he went out of his way to make us comfortable. However, I spent the entire trip sleeping on the couch. Fourth: Laundry. We tried to use the laundry facility on the seventh floor, the floor in which are room was on only to find out both washer machines were out of order. This was only after putting the laundry and soap in the machine. We were advised after calling guest services to use another floor, we went to the first floor to find both machines working but once again after putting are clothes, soap, softener and money in the machine, it would not work, we had to set the washer to warm (It was actually HOT) we found out too late and several pieces of clothing were ruined. The machine worked at such a slow pace it took over an hour after the other machine stopped. We had to reset the dryer twice at $3. 00 each time to find our clothes were still wet; this was a very small load. (Over four hours of our time wasted to do two small loads of laundry). We chocked this up to a bad experience and decided to give it another chance on the last day in Hawaii. One machine was working on the seventh floor. We put our clothes in soap, (1/2 box) softer and money everything was looking good until we open the washer machine to find all our clothing stained with soap. We had to run the washer again with only water to remove the soap stains. This ship was in dry dock for two weeks, exactly what was done? Clearly there were no fixes to the inside of the ship. The person responsible for the laundry room told us that they report broken equipment daily. (This should have been addressed and fixed while sitting in port in Hawaii). It is unacceptable to have a ship with over two thousand people on a 15 day cruise and have over three quarters of the laundry equipment knowingly inoperable. Furthermore, the waterslide which was advertised for this cruise inoperable the entire cruise. The cover for the indoor pool broke making it very uncomfortable/unable to use on the cold days at sea. The entertainment was fair at best, except for the dance/music shows performed in the Pharaoh's Palace, they were excellent. To summarize my experience on this ship: Let me say the spirit is a beautiful ship. Once reaching Hawaii it was beautiful, the staff was very pleasant and helpful. For the most part if you ordered room service or ate in the dining room the food was good, however the buffets when returning from tours were so bad we chose to eat off the ship while docked. The rooms were spacious and well kept. The sleeping accommodations, specifically the bed was horrible. The laundry room was deplorable as well as unacceptable. The water slide was nonfunctional for the entire cruise. The indoor pool was inoperable on the cold sea days returning to San Diego. The entertainment except for the show held in the Pharaoh's Place, (specifically dance and music) were at best fair. But, the fact that Carnival seemed to have no remorse they never showed concern or even apologize for the inconveniences they caused, again due to poor operational planning ,poor up-keep and poor follow-up. No fault of his/her customers. When we followed up with carnival cruise they told us that they could leave dock when ever they wanted and that we should have brought our damaged clothes to guest services, and that we were due nothing, clearly not even an apology. This totally unacceptable on so many levels. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Read this if you plan to take Hawaii 15 night cruise aboard Carnival Spirit!! While we enjoy reading reviews prior to our bookings,for many reasons, this cruise did not have any reviews for us to work from, and we would have booked ... Read More
Read this if you plan to take Hawaii 15 night cruise aboard Carnival Spirit!! While we enjoy reading reviews prior to our bookings,for many reasons, this cruise did not have any reviews for us to work from, and we would have booked elsewhere and not wasted the money. So here are a few pointers if you too decide the price is too good to be true!!! - 15 nights typically means a general age above 55+. NOTE THIS. Embarkation: We saw the lines out and wrapped around the hanger at 2pm. Instead of waiting in the heat, we went down to marina a few steps and sat to eat, drink, and make last minute calls til 4pm when we went back to board with ease. Wait til later and you will have 1/2hr in line at most. SeaDays: - joke! your onboard sea activities were: puzzles,sewing,glittering,and a race to get one of the window reading seats in the Artists' lobby. Scrapbooking is provided with kids colored construction paper, used glue sticks & scissors from the 80s & BINGO nonstop!ugg. Very insulting and definitely cheapened the experience. - There were so many trivias and slide shows to bridge the gap it was obvious why you never saw the Cruise Director walking the ship. Embarrassed to answer the Q's people had about what better is offered BORING Sea days. -The gym was our saving grace. We did not partake in Spa sales, but the gym,jacuzzi,steam,sauna were our hideouts. EVEN so, the steam room & sauna face a frosted wall, so the effect of being at sea with a spa experience is never there. Designers should know that cruisers like to feel the neverending sea and the calm of the waters while in a spa. -There is no 'creativity' in spa's it seems. They sell the same old services, in the same old way, very traditional. blah. Grade C- The water slide was not working for us passengers. It was though for a promotional video to be shot, so that was an Grade F Movies onboard: Ironman I, Ironman2, Elizabeth, someother old movies. The screen was propped-up on a stage in the lounge which was not really a full screen to the stage, so if you sat in row 4 or higher, too far away to enjoy. Acoustics were not crisp alittle annoying. Either way, movies were not newer releases, so bummer. Grade C Food: - The MDR needs to be experienced,but we could only get service at dinner. We stopped going for breakfast or lunch as it was obvious there were not enough servers, and forget about a table for 2. Unless you sat at a 'group' table you were waiting...and waiting...and waiting...yea, forced to the buffet for breakfasts and lunch. (lines)ho hum. This got very old as the menus there were casseroles. The salad line was always open, but the same old stuff. Sushi looked the same everyday, Salad had the same offerings everyday, Desserts looked great, but were not tasty 60% of the time - occasional tira misu and other tasties, but not consistent. Coffee on this cruise was horrendous...count on it regulating your bodily system. After drinking Starbucks at home, you will be forced to start 'paying' for the onboard kiosks, but even then you will need a 2 shot espresso to come to a rich, bold flavor. I think if you are from average household with a 'drip' machine you will be ok, but bring your Starbucks press if you think being without coffee by day 2 will bother you. Tea: expect the cruiser who decides to 'raid' the teabox daily for the herbals and good stuff. all that seems available daily is the basic lipton and green tea in the box. the good stuff was always missing from the box. earl grey, camomile,orange spice, etc. bummer. Grade C+, B+ for MDR evenings Entertainment: There were only 2 acts in 15 days that were broadway type acts. The other days were; B grade comedians and later part of cruise C/D grade commedians. 'damn checking account' was good, the later sail days commedians had walkouts and no laughs. horrible. other nights were filled with: marriage game, passenger talent show, cruise staff introduction show, magician act/comedian, cant' remember what else whas thrown in. Grade C Dance lessons onboard: Thank heaven for Tara/Steve. They taught 2 sets in the day but were put in a small dance floor/lounge area and there was no way we felt comfortable sprawing out to learn. The room had no air, and 10am was too early/close to breakfast. No staff out promoting anything, so it felt like a 'showup' and having alittle bonding or excitement to attend would have been nice. Grade A- for Steve/Tara. Staff Involvement: Seriously lacking on this ship. No one speaks with you, no one gives any attention which by the way makes a passenger feel recognized out of their normal hum drum workday, so it seemed that you felt in a bubble on this cruise unless you gravitated to find 'like-minded' new friends to talk with, and that was tough in this group. That was here and there for us as we are late 30s and from city, not suburbs. This crowd overwhelmingly felt like Ohio, mid-America, Walmart shopper. Someone needed to step in and get a party started and that was really lacking on this ship. Grade D Photography: Sell baby Sell. Kudo's to the Indian guys for pushing a more upscale 'Dream' photographic memory, but without the pull of all staff in all departments, this project will fall by the wayside. The oveall experience onboard is not there to carry the buzz coming from this department alone. Kids: no comment, we saw only a handfull, seen but not heard --poor little guys are due their money back in our opinion. All in all, we made up for the horrible seaday experiences by full days on land. RENT A CAR beforehand EVERYDAY so that you have a blast on land. We did not go through any of the overpriced ship excursions and heard the nightmares fo cost/benefit ratio, so do as we did, book excursions on your own and you will already see your fellow passengers did the same to save $$$$. All tour operators off ship are working at a discount due to economy, but the moment you mention you will be coming from a cruise ship, expect the price to go back up....so do it as if you are staying on island at a hotel. Oahu: Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, Hanamu Bay Snorkeling Maui: Hana drive is boring til you get to the end. Option for the West side of island taking the northwest drive on Rt 340, exciting, cliff-hanging, no shoulder of the road, drive with the most amazing views of hawaii!!(car rental cos ask that you do not take this road....but it is the most eventful drive) Always bring your snorkel gear - tons of places on every island to get into the water off the road. Kauai: NorthShore - waves are 25-30' in winter and where all the great surfers/celebrities are playing. The south of the island is less rough for snorkling. This island is more remote. Expect to see Green Sea Turtles on land and in water. You do not need to go in water deep to see the sea life in Hawaii. Grab gear and go. We will return to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Celebrity for future cruising. We understand that times are tough, but Carnival does not have their act together. 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
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: September 2011
We left Seattle WA on 9/13/2011 for a cruise to Alaska. It was our 3rd cruise on Carnival. We cruised to 3 Alaska cities on the inward passage. We were disappointed with the food served in the dining room and in the regular restaurant. The ... Read More
We left Seattle WA on 9/13/2011 for a cruise to Alaska. It was our 3rd cruise on Carnival. We cruised to 3 Alaska cities on the inward passage. We were disappointed with the food served in the dining room and in the regular restaurant. The food was cold and not much of a selection in either place. We felt it was much too expensive to spend 30 dollars per person to eat in the fancier restaurants per day. Another problem was the service in the dining room. It was very poor and the waiters seemed to be on their own agenda. We had opted for early dining and they seemed to be in a hurry to get you served and out of the dining room. Cabin service was good. We also didn't like the fact that our cruise ended in Vancouver and we were bussed back to Seattle to the airport where we spent 10 hours before our flight home. We will not take another Carnival cruise. Entertainment was poor. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Where do I begin a ship that sales to Alaska but it has no heating at all anywhere on the ship! However. You do have air con in your cabin that you can NOT turn off. It was cold by day two had to stay in bed all day on my birthday as it ... Read More
Where do I begin a ship that sales to Alaska but it has no heating at all anywhere on the ship! However. You do have air con in your cabin that you can NOT turn off. It was cold by day two had to stay in bed all day on my birthday as it was so cold. This is what carnival call entertainment, Rubber Chicken Olympics, Hairy Chest competition, bean bag throwing just some of what was on offer. Some of the shows were OK but nothing to write home about. Food choice at lunch was better that at dinner. But if you did not want to eat in the main restaurant and were looking for a different choice then the buffet was not going to be of any use to you as it served the same food as the main restaurant. The service was slow and not all of the staff went out of their way to help you. In saying this out room steward was very good. The main thing that this cruise line want to do is run up your bill as much as they can before you leave. Hard sell on day trips, photos, drinks and anything else they can put on you bill. If you are professional people and are looking for a 4* cruse then do not choose carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
It's hard to believe that this cruise failed in nearly every way possible. We've taken two shorter trips with Carnival (Elation) that were just fine, so this came as a surprise. Our room steward, Komang, was very good. I ... Read More
It's hard to believe that this cruise failed in nearly every way possible. We've taken two shorter trips with Carnival (Elation) that were just fine, so this came as a surprise. Our room steward, Komang, was very good. I generally think all the cruise lines have uniformly good/excellent staff, but outside of Komang, this was not the case. Our wait staff was generally slow, and never checked in with us (we always had to ask for water refills). They were good guys, and affable, but the least of the wait staff we've ever had. Also, the staff will generally defer to you when in the hallways or in the Lido. Not on this ship--if they're rolling a cart, you should watch out. Very surprising.Unfortunately, we had the pleasure of 600 children on board as well. Apparently, the parents decided they were taking a break from their kids as well, and the vast majority of them were unsupervised. We were with six other people on different floors, and we all had stories of kids running wild at almost every hour imaginable. I was going to our room at midnight when I ran across seven kids at the bottom of the stairs on the 4th floor on their stomachs playing a game. Why on earth would you let you kid out alone after midnight, and why would you play a game at the end of the stairs?! I've also never seen a messier ship. I suspect this is partly due to so many "kids gone wild" on board, but could never be sure if the staff was overwhelmed with the messiness or just didn't care like all the other ships/cruise lines. We never failed to see plates, glasses, napkins and even ice cream cones on the stairs or elevators. Our favorite was finding flowered panties on one of the floors. I guess the panties were in keeping with the theme of the ship though--whorehouse garish. We started referring to the ship as the Bayside Bordello. Garish colors, nudes throughout the ship (really? on a family ship this is fashionable?), and several clashing styles to jar your senses (Roman, Egyptian, French, and more!). The Lido was easily the worst we've seen. Lights, colors, go-go cages everywhere--and always claustrophobic. I've been on bigger ships with many more people and never felt so ever-crowded. The food was generally good, but breakfast and dessert are their week spots. Make sure you don't bother with the powdered eggs they use for "scrambled eggs". Skip the "orange juice" as well unless you like Tang. Go with food they have to cook for you (omelets, fried eggs), and you'll do better. Their only consistent dessert worth bothering with is their signature melting cake. All the others were lacking in our opinion.Also lacking was the Cruise Director's inventiveness. Really...no kitchen tours until you were inundated with requests? Lots of trivia games, but very little else. The usual hairy chest contests/making drinks/karaoke, etc., but nothing worthwhile. Also, make sure you bring books if you're a reader. The library is a joke. I think there were more computers than books!Entertainment was easily the worst of any ship on any line. Incoherent "themes" for their musical reviews, and awful comedians (comedian/juggler, comedian/magician, regular comedians) for the rest of the "entertainment). The remainder of the entertainment? The people on board doing their "acts" as part of the "professional entertainment"?!!! No thank you. The singers and dancers actually had talent, but you wouldn't know it from the poor productions. If you like your kids getting an eyeful of T&A, this is the showcase for you. Tacky all around.We did enjoy the ports, so that was a plus, but the ship and everything in it was so lacking that I'm thankful this wasn't my first cruise, or I'd never go again. Try any other cruise line, and if you must go with Carnival, pick any ship but this. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
this was my first cruise ever , my fiance has also posted a review on here but i thought i would submit one from my point of view as well as i feel compelled to do so based on the experience i had . the pros : fast boarding ,decent food , ... Read More
this was my first cruise ever , my fiance has also posted a review on here but i thought i would submit one from my point of view as well as i feel compelled to do so based on the experience i had . the pros : fast boarding ,decent food , superb service from our cabin steward conrado (it's been a very long time since i had excellent service with a smile). hawaii and our time spent off the ship was spectacular. that's really about it. the cons : where do i begin ? others have mentioned the poor entertainment , i would consider this to be an understatement , it was beyond brutal .daytime events consisted of such things as a hairy chest contest , trivia, afternoon tea and bingo if you wanted to pay . night entertainment was equally brutal with bad comics and bad musicians and a talent show starring the passengers .the average age of the passengers had to be 75 and you could tell, it was like being stuck in an old folks home for two weeks . the best act by far was Eddie Miles who did a magnificent tribute to Elvis. Carnival however can not be credited with booking such Talent as Mr. Miles was on a cruise like the rest of us with his fan club and thankfully shared his Talent with all of us giving me what would be the only decent hour of entertainment i had for the entire cruise . the cruise director Stu was brutal , i sincerly got the impression that his only mission for the trip was to soak us for what ever he could .he couldn't make one announcement with out trying to flog everything from steaks to watches to seaweed wraps . even after the ship had docked in vancouver during the disembarking announcment he was busy trying to flog pictures to the people whose numbers hadn't been called yet instead of at the door to thank the passengers and see us off , he left that to someone else .they don't allow outside liquor which is fine . if your not going to allow liquor though don't soak the customer 8.75 a drink . we bought two one litre bottles from carnival when we booked and it cost us over 80 dollars . in closing my final thoughts are that as a first time cruiser , i wasn't impressed overall . i get two weeks off a year and could not see myself doing this again .we payed a nice chunk of change for this trip and it doesn't deliver value for what you pay, it doesn't even pay for the entitlement to bring a couple bottles of rum on with you when you embark . it basically gets you a spot on the ship where they have you trapped into selling you all the extras . it's really a shame because this is a really nice ship with a good crew the short comings of the cruise director and his constant sales pitches really put a damper on this for me Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Itinerary: 12/6 - 12/10; San Diego, to Cabo San Lucas (for the day), and back to San Diego. Mas: The service (mostly); Nouveau Steakhouse. Mas o Menos: The food Menos: The constant sales pitches; lousy TV; no bar ... Read More
Itinerary: 12/6 - 12/10; San Diego, to Cabo San Lucas (for the day), and back to San Diego. Mas: The service (mostly); Nouveau Steakhouse. Mas o Menos: The food Menos: The constant sales pitches; lousy TV; no bar food?! I will start with my rave reviews. Our waiter, Melvin, and our stateroom steward, Hery, were excellent. Lighthearted conversational exchanges, and serious attention to good service, describe my experience of them. They were a joy. My second rave goes to the Nouveau Steakhouse. I had brought a bottle of champagne to enjoy, which the staff had placed in an ice bucket, at our table and ready to go. A nice touch. The service was impeccable: attentive, but not hovering. The only demerit was that the dress code, stressed to me when I made our reservation, was apparently overlooked for a neighboring table, the diners at which had donned logo T-shirts, jeans and tennis shoes for their steakhouse evening. That one glitch aside, the food was delicious, across the board. I give an extra thumbs-up for my porterhouse steak, which was tender and done to medium-rare perfection, and my wife's surf and turf was equally delightful (according to her; I was way to busy with my giant porterhouse to steal a bite). Eating at the steakhouse, while an extra expense that I dithered about spending, was worth every penny. Now to the not-so-good. "Raffle" is a code word for "sales pitch," on this vessel. We put our names in for the spa raffle, and the process was interminable, with constant punctuations of descriptions of spa and gym services. It was an investment of 30 minutes, all told, for nothing more than a discounted massage and facial for my wife. Most of the service on-board was very good, but there was one glaring exception. My wife was allowed in to the dining room on the third morning, along with two other diners, right at the cut-off time (10:00, I think). It was stressed to her that the kitchen would close soon, so she ordered for me. This was all well and good, but the staff proceeded to serve us with uncharacteristic indifference. When one of the other diners at our table said, in a very nice way, that she wasn't happy with her eggs, I had to step in to let the waiter know that she should get them re-cooked to her satisfaction. I requested a bagel, and without having chosen what kind, had a toasted bagel more or less dumped on my plate. Coffee wasn't refilled without request.... My feeling is that, if one is seated, one is not unreasonable in expecting solicitous service. I mean, the food is not great; it's the service that makes dining enjoyable. Which brings me to the food. Other than the steakhouse, the food was just so-so, on the Spirit--often tepid and not well seasoned. The eggs over easy were good, as was the Indian fare I ate on the first night. Across the board, the desserts were too sweet and/or otherwise failed (WAY too much caramelized sugar on the creme brulee; no flame on my cherries jubilee), and the bread was often stale and not offered often enough. And what's with no bar food? Not even nuts or pretzels? Frankly, I would have bought more drinks if I'd been able to snack while I was at it. My last "menos": the lousy TV. It was an old box TV, not a flat-screen, but, more than that, it was IMPOSSIBLY slow. The interactive menus were a joke. I only tried one time to deal with that "offering." The regular TV was OK, but only OK: response was slow, and channel selection sucked. No ESPN, and hardly any stations. I ended up watching the movies we'd brought, and the GPS station showing the ship's progress. I don't think I'll be cruising again. It was a fair amount of money for less than I'd expected. Plus, there's the sea to contend with. While the trip to Cabo was really nice, seas got heavier and heavier on the way back, to the point where the show was canceled and there were sick bags placed around the ship. Frankly, I'd rather be on land...or on a sailboat. :) Read Less
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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