Wow! That's about all that needs to be said about this amazing cruise, our best experience so far amongst our five voyages. What made it so special? Three things. 1. We love the Carnival experience, and made sure that we never ... Read More
Wow! That's about all that needs to be said about this amazing cruise, our best experience so far amongst our five voyages. What made it so special? Three things. 1. We love the Carnival experience, and made sure that we never shied away from getting involved. 2. We were traveling with fun family and friends (except one) who all got along and had a great time together. 3. Alaska is probably the most magnificent state in the union when it comes to natural beauty. Words cannot describe what we saw. I've been to Hawaii twice, and overall, I like the Alaska scenery better. Anyway, let's get started with our group of 15 family members and friends. We range in ages from 25 to 65, and there were NO KIDS OR GRANDKIDS, bless their little hearts. Only [two of our group] booked their air through Carnival ... because it was cheaper, by a lot! That's a first for me. For everyone else we found better fares on the Internet. Josh & his original cabin mate (more on that later) were the luckiest. They were the last to book the cruise and I found a flight for them for $387 round trip, non-stop both ways! We booked this cruise in January 2001 before the ship was completed, booking a category 8B balcony cabin on Upper deck. Little did we know that about half of the cabins in this category have a view partially obstructed by the top of the lifeboats. It was only after I looked at a close up photo of the ship's exterior that I realized this would be a problem. My travel agent contacted Carnival and had the situation resolved in one hour. Carnival, who I have always found to be very accommodating, apologized for the problem and upgraded us all to Category 8G and 8I (Verandah & Panorama decks) with the bigger balconies. How's that for an extra benefit. This was after Carnival had already reduced the cruise price by $300 per person and gave each cabin a $60 onboard credit. All total, we saved between $490-to-$520 per person. But Carnival got most of that back at the casinos. Now, in the 2002-2003 Carnival brochure for all three Spirit-class ships, they have a disclaimer giving you the specific cabins in 8B that have the obstructed view. It pays to read the fine print. Last place you want an obstructed view balcony cabin is in Alaska. GETTING TO VANCOUVER Ethel and I flew into Vancouver a day early. Our original plans called for us to take three connecting flights to Vancouver the day of the cruise. That's a looooooong day. So we changed our flights for $100 total with Northwest Airlines, cutting our flights to just two and knocking 3 hours off the flight time. Approaching Vancouver was the first hint that this was going to be a magnificent adventure. The pilot alerted us to Mt. Rainier on one side, and another scenic mountain on the other. Then as you approach the city you see more awesome mountains and islands surrounded by blue water as the plane descends. Never has a landing been more rewarding. So far so good. And It took us just 5 minutes to clear Canadian customs. We had booked a room at the Hilton Vancouver Airport for $88 U.S. over the Internet, getting an extra 1,000 Hilton HHonors points in the process. The hotel is 5 minutes from the airport, offers a free shuttle and is within walking distance of several restaurants. After dinner, we settled into our room, watched a little TV, and with Ethel sound asleep, the phone rings at 11 p.m. Pacific time (1 a.m. back east). It's Kaye, back in Michigan: "What happens if someone doesn't have a birth certificate?" Seems Barb forgot hers and began the drive back to Lansing (66 miles) to retrieve it. We didn't know she had made it to the airport until 3:45 a.m. Pacific, 15 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave. The next morning it was back to the airport by 11 a.m., where we turned our luggage over to the Carnival attendants and waited for more of our group to arrive. And we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Although both flights from Detroit had arrived on time within minutes of the other, it took about an hour to clear customs on this busy day because of Spirit and the of pre-cruise groups arriving for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines. The airport was packed. Finally, with eight of our group present (the rest of the group would arrive later), the real adventure could begin. EMBARKATION The bus ride to the pier is rather long, perhaps because we were anxious, perhaps because we never saw a freeway. We had to wind our way through city streets, getting a guided tour from the driver as we went along. Finally we snaked our way through Gastown (there is not a single gas station there), getting our first view of sparkling Carnival Spirit. Once off the bus you're always inside at the pier terminal, which I'm sure is great if it's raining. No San Juan situations here. It takes about an hour to totally get through the sign up process and U.S. customs. So in one day you go through both Canadian and U.S. customs. I like that since you get it all done and then can concentrate on your cruise. And the mandatory muster drill doesn't take place until the next day, another plus as far as I'm concerned. Who wants to stand on deck right after getting on the ship, while you're tired and wishing you were on Lido deck instead. THE SHIP I'll try not to hit on too many subjects that other reviewers have already talked about. Spirit is an easy ship to get around. Unlike Destiny-class ships, you can get from one end to the other with no problem. Deck 2 and 3 are the most active areas, of course, and I would suggest using those if you want to get around because you may see something along the way that will interest you. You can just as easily walk the corridors along cabin decks, but you wouldn't see much. If you are easily confused, just remember this simple rule on Spirit: No matter what deck you're on, food is aft, entertainment is forward. Although I love Royal Caribbean's Voyager-class ships, the one flaw is that you have to go out of your way to go to many of their entertainment areas, such as the jazz club or the ice skating show. On Spirit that isn't a problem. On Deck 2, you can walk from the dining room, check out the jazz group at Artist's Lobby, another performer at the atrium bar, a country-western singer in the casino, fellow passengers singing karaoke in Club Cool, and snack on a real dessert or coffee at the Fountain Cafe before catching one of the shows at Pharoah's Palace, all within a 10-minute stroll. However, the entertainment is another matter, but we'll get to that later. We all agreed that the ship is kinda "out there" in terms of decoration. But your eyes adapt after a few days. The brightest area is Lido deck. Classiest area is the Empire dining room. Carnival cabin bathrooms are great, with plenty of room to move around. The shower could easily be used by a "big" person. I weighed about 205 pounds when I cruised on Voyager, and their wrap-around shower was really confining. Drop a bar of soap in there and you'll have to exit the shower to retrieve it. The entire cabin never felt small. However, like all cruise lines, I wish they could figure out a way to make those twin beds truly a queen bed. We're not Ozzie and Harriet, if you catch my meaning. EXCURSIONS We booked tours at three of the four stops. In Ketchikan, Carmelia and I did the Misty Fjords flightseeing tour with Island Wings Air. Michelle piloted the four-seater, landing by an island in the middle of a lake so that we could get out and take photos and video. No other tour company does this, instead just landing on the lake and letting you take photos from there. Awesome experience, and Michelle made the tour even more rewarding with her knowledge of the area. I never knew Ketchikan was an island and not on the mainland. In Juneau, we went on the Awesome Orca whale-watching excursion with Captain Larry and Jim the naturalist. Great guys! Great senses of humor! Great excursion! Our group took over most of the boat, which holds about 25 people. Why bother booking the more expensive cruise line version with 125 people onboard? This is more personal, and we made the most of it, asking questions, joking with Jim and really making this the highlight of all our excursions. We saw whales bubble-net feeding a whooping six times! We must have seen 30 whales out there. And the scenery? Wow! When we docked, we had the option of going straight to Mendenhall Glacier or back to town. We chose the glacier and were not disappointed. When we returned to town to do a little shopping, I went back to the Orca office to let them know what a great time we had. Book this one if you want to go whale-watching ... you will not be disappointed. In Skagway we took the White Pass & Yukon Rail excursion, arranged through Carnival. It was rather foggy and they gave us the option to back out and get a refund, but like I said, we were out to have fun and weren't going to let a little fog get in our way. Although this was third best of the three excursions, we still had a nice time, even though Alanne has a fear of heights and didn't enjoy climbing along the outside of a mountain. The rest of us, however, took in the lovely scenery, listened to the tour guide's stories and enjoyed another opportunity to be together. We were in the second car, where the tour guide is situated. Her voice is carried through speakers throughout the lengthy train. Once again, we kept things lively and had a ball as a group. Shopping was good in all three of these ports. Plenty of souvenirs with mostly the same items sold at each stop. Miss something in Ketchikan? Don't worry, you'll find it in Juneau or Skagway. However, in Juneau we did get a great Alaska photo album for just $6.99. We filled all 208 slots with photos from the 13 rolls of film I shot throughout the trip. I still have plenty left, not including the 100 digital photos I took. Thank God we bought our souvenirs before we got to Sitka. There weren't many bargains there. Much of the stuff is overpriced, even though other items are worth what they're asking, such as items at the Russian American store. Wish I had the money to buy some of it. ENTERTAINMENT My group had a great time in the casino ... even though they lost lots of money. You know how it goes. Win $800 one night, give it all back the next night. Marjorie was the smart one, winning $900 and keeping it. Way to go, Marjorie! As far as the shows go .... well, they weren't very good. The first two shows at Pharaoh's Palace were just OK. The male dancers were very good. We felt the women dancers, although beautiful, were a little stiff. Each show they were screaming with excitement while dancing, which seemed kinda phony. The male and female singers had great voices, but I felt some of the songs they sang were all wrong for them. The final big stage show was awful. One by one, we walked out. I can honestly say it was the worst show I've ever seen on a cruise ship. We enjoyed the entertainment in the smaller venues more. The jazz group at Artist's Lobby was good, and so was the duo at Nouveau Supper Club, thanks to the male singer. He has an amazing voice and is quite talented. DINING We liked and disliked the Nouveau Supper Club. A few months before the cruise I met a Spirit manager online and she was able to make advance reservations for my entire group. That was a real timesaver. We didn't have to spend time the first day making reservations. I had the best filet mignon of my life, and the Caesar salad was also very good. But the dainty desserts left a lot to be desired, and three hours is way too long for this. I like fine restaurants, but I felt I was missing something sitting there so long. The atmosphere is very relaxing, especially for an Alaskan cruise. Just watching as we passed the mountains along the coast - not to mention a whale sighting or two - is reward enough. However, for the $25 cover charge, I don't think I'd do it again. But that filet mignon was spectacular. Overall, Portofino aboard Voyager of the Seas was better. If you want a truly elegant setting aboard a Carnival ship, just to see how the upper crust lives, this is the restaurant for you. If you just want good food and service, see Rafael and Helen in the Empire Room. The food in the Empire Room was typical Carnival. In other words, it was typically good. We enjoyed every meal in the dining room. We ate breakfast there once, lunch once and dinner six times. Our wait team of Rafael from Costa Rica (actually he lives in New Jersey) and Helen from the Philippines were extremely efficient and entertaining, with Rafael ("I'll sing for you, I'll dance for you") playfully flirting with the women in our group, especially Kaye. Don't worry Carnival, he was always courteous and respectful! We're making sure Kaye's husband gets a picture of the two of them in the dining room, and maybe he'll go with us next time to protect his interest. Rafael and Helen made us feel special, as did David the head waiter from Ireland, who stopped by our table several nights to check on us. Truly first-class service, each and every day. The Lido deck food is the most varied of all Carnival cruises I've been on. We had to make tough choices every day to decide what to eat, especially at lunch. You had Chinese, Japanese, a salad bar, a fruit bar, a deli, rotisserie meats, pasta, pizza, burgers and other items each time. And I ate soft-serve ice cream every day, a good thing since the deserts were the usually light and airy Carnival variety. ONLY AS FUN AS YOU MAKE IT As I said, this was a fantastic experience. But you know what? It might not be for some people. Our group was quite outgoing and interactive. We met hundreds of people throughout the 7 days and always made sure that we called people - both passengers and staff - by name. We remembered them and they did the same. By the way, our entire group is African-American, but it was never an issue. If you treat people with respect and carry yourself with dignity, people will be drawn to you. Two of the best people we met were elderly white ladies from North Carolina, who developed a relationship with Josh flying into Vancouver, continued throughout the cruise and through their flight home. I'm sure they'll all stay in contact even though the cruise is now confined to pictures, video, memory and expanded midsections. Best part of the onboard experience had to be Josh - who was elevated to star status by the time the cruise was over - and Alanne. Both are quite gifted musically. They participated in karaoke, the talent show, and also performed with the small jazz group along the way in Artist's Lobby. Both had standing invitations to perform each night, and crowds would develop whenever they performed. They were both awesome in the talent show. And Alanne, as the last act, left cruise director Shawn Bussey and her assistant speechless when she took over the post act interview. We couldn't go anywhere on ship without someone coming up to Josh and talking to him, telling how well he sang or how well he played the sax & piano or just commenting on his charisma. By the way, Alanne volunteered my wife and I to sing at karaoke, and even though I believe I can't sing a lick, everyone said that I was pretty good. Must run in the family. One more thing, I had read last year that Shawn Bussey wasn't a very good cruise director. Well, she certainly must have improved since then. I found her very engaging and funny, and best of all she appeared to be having fun. She's not bad on the eyes either. DEBARKATION This is the one area -- other than entertainment -- that Carnival really needs to work on. We don't have a problem with the 3-hour bus ride from Seward to Anchorage, especially after our driver stopped at the Big Game animal reserve. But we all feel Carnival needs to alert the first groups getting the night before. We got up at 5:30 a.m. and made it to the dining room for breakfast at 6 a.m. We had literally sat down when our tag color was called, meaning we had to get back to our rooms, pick up our carry-ons and leave the ship ... all on empty stomachs. Of course, Carnival knew that our flight wasn't leaving Anchorage until 5 p.m. Why couldn't we have had breakfast first? If nothing else, let those groups getting off by 6 a.m. know so that they can eat breakfast when the dining room opens at 5:30 a.m. We saw no point in filling out the forms, alerting them to our 5 p.m. flight time, since it meant nothing in terms of when we got off the ship. To kill time in Anchorage before our flight, some of us took a shuttle downtown. Looking for a good restaurant? Try Glacier Brewery down the street from the Egan Center. Also, I bought some last-minute postcards at a store, 10 for 88 cents. However, be aware that if you use the free Carnival shuttle, get a return ticket as soon as you get off the bus. Those tickets go fast and you could be left stranded, unless you raise a stink. SUMMARY All in all, this was our best cruise ever. Only one person did not enjoy herself, but she came onboard miserable and left the same way. The rest of us had so much fun that we are planning our next group cruise for 2004, this time to the Southern Caribbean. Now that we have returned, other people who backed out before, now want to join our group. We're looking at about 40 people next time. Which brings me to Josh's original cabin mate. Unbelievably, she backed out on him the day before the cruise! She said she "was busy." What a knucklehead, huh? How someone could cancel out on a once-in-a-lifetime Alaska cruise adventure is beyond me. But he had a great time anyway ... especially with his two "young" ladies from North Carolina. He'll see the knucklehead in small claims court. alanwhitt@attbi.comSeptember 2002 Read Less
Just returned from New Year's Eve cruise on the Spirit with an itinerary of Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama. This is our second cruise on Carnival. The ship was large and well-kept. Public areas were nice and our cabin was laid ... Read More
Just returned from New Year's Eve cruise on the Spirit with an itinerary of Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama. This is our second cruise on Carnival. The ship was large and well-kept. Public areas were nice and our cabin was laid out efficiently with enough storage space. We had previously sailed on Carnival's Victory which we preferred to this ship, but that is a personal preference. That being said, I have mixed feelings about this cruise. I had booked 10 months in advance requesting late seating for dinner, but was given early seating. You had to wait in line for an hour to speak to the maitre de and he could only "get back to you". When he didn't, I had to constantly go up there and complain until we were finally changed. Belize It was rainy when we arrived so all water and walking related tours were cancelled. We tendered to the dock and took a city tour with an independent tour guide. It was okay, but I think the real beauty of Belize lies outside the city limits. Unfortunately, I missed it. As a point of reference, everyone who took the baboon tour complained about how lame it was. It apparently was in a setting behind people's homes, and they had to whistle to find a monkey. There were lawn mowers in the backround. A must-miss from what I was told. Costa Rica We pulled up on a sunny day to what looked like a very inviting area. You could see palm trees, beaches, mountains, etc. We were all excited after rainy Belize. After we docked, the captain made an announcement that the swells were too large and we wouldn't be able to get off. So, we left. We all received a $25 credit per person, as a "gesture" on our bill. Dissapointing to say the least. Several other posters have told this story and I feel that Carnival should either change the port of call, or offer an alternative if the water is too rough. For an 8 day cruise, we spent 6 on the ship. PanamaThis was the best of all the stops. Took the Panama Canal tour at $155 per person. It was well worth it. The tour was great and you went through 2 locks into Gatun Lake. The guide was knowledgeable and spoke English well. Lunch was provided and I highly recommend this tour. Food Plentiful and mediocre for the most part. As they say, "edible, but largely forgetable". We had reservations at the supper club, but had to cancel due to a stomach virus we all contracted after our first full day on the ship. The infirmary was helpful and provided us with medications to help ease our discomfort. Did we catch it on the ship? I honestly couldn't say. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, as I returned home 1 pound lighter than when I left! EntertainmentA mixed bag, some better than others. Amy, the cruise director, is often the vocal entertainment as well. They had a comedy juggling act called the Village Idiots which were really good. During the day, they had the usual stuff that I personally didn't find that entertaining. They have the requisite Bingo, Newlywed Game, hairy chest contests, etc. Oh, and the art auctions. They had a nice gym if you care to use it. There were lots of lounges with music to hang out at. They also have a nice library/internet cafe which was convenient for keeping in touch back home. The ship rocked and was sometimes "creaky". Often, there were sickness bags left at the elevator doors and stairs. Our room steward was excellent, and our dinner staff was impersonal, but attentive. Overall it was relaxing, but a little dissapointing. I think we will try another cruise line next time around to compare. Hope this helps anyone reading for information. Reb1121@aol.comMarch 2003 Read Less
Well, I'm feeling a little guilty because I haven't written a review yet and I really appreciated all the info I got off [Cruise Critic's] boards prior to our cruise. So, here goes! Our cruise started on 7/24 but we decided ... Read More
Well, I'm feeling a little guilty because I haven't written a review yet and I really appreciated all the info I got off [Cruise Critic's] boards prior to our cruise. So, here goes! Our cruise started on 7/24 but we decided to go one day prior because we (my husband and I) were traveling with my in-laws and we felt it might make for a very long day for them with the flights from California, the bus drive to Seward and then boarding. We booked our pre-night through Carnival and were placed at the Anchorage Hilton. The price for this is pretty ridiculous, but it does include the transfers and tips. The Hilton was nice and in a good location to wander around and see some of the downtown area. From 6p.m. to 10p.m. in the hotel, we were able to check in with Carnival. Turned in our info for the Sign and Sail card and took care of everything so we didn't have to go to the Egan Center the next day. Ate dinner at a little place down the street called the Snow Goose. It's a microbrewery, so my husband enjoyed that. Had good chowder, salads and sandwiches. The next morning my husband and I walked around some more and went by the Egan Center. We were extremely glad we didn't have to go there as there were hundreds of people, suitcases and it looked like total chaos!! We were assigned a l:30 bus to Seward. It picked us up at the Hilton. Ran a little late and then we had to go by the airport to pick up more people. Nice drive to Seward, informative bus driver. Got a box lunch when we boarded. We took our carry ons with us, but our other luggage was picked up that morning by the hotel and sent to Seward ahead of us. Arrived at the ship around 5p.m. Went through security and picked up our sign and sail cards then boarded the ship. No lines or waiting whatsoever. We carried 11 bottles of wine in a 22" suitcase. We checked it through on the airlines but took it as a carry=on once we were in Anchorage. Went through security with no problems or questions. All luggage was already at our rooms except two pieces(mine) but they arrived about 6:15. Were on the Empress Deck in 6194 and 6198. Very nice rooms, great balcony (we hadn't had one before). Plenty of storage, roomy bathroom with plenty of shelves. Beds were set up as two twins, so we just moved the nightstand between and shoved them together ourselves. When we saw the room steward as we were leaving for dinner, we mentioned that we wanted them made up as one bed and it was taken care of when we returned from dinner. All our suitcases fit easily under the beds after we unpacked. We were really glad we had brought a bungee cord for the balcony door, great tip!! Dinner in the dining room was open seating the first night. Not quite sure why but it was slow seating and didn't go smooth at all. I would think it would work better to start the assigned seating the first night. Cruised College Fjord the next morning. Very scenic. Our room was on the port side of the ship, which proved to be the correct side for some great viewing of Harvard Glacier. We were able to get within 1/4 mile of the glacier. Just sat there for awhile and saw multiple calvings from our balcony. Took many pictures!!! We didn't go into Valdez that afternoon. Long lines to get off the ship, long lines for buses to town and long lines to get back on ship. We later heard that there wasn't much there anyway. Spent the day checking out the beautiful ship, and relaxing on our balcony. We ate dinner every night in the dinning room and also had two lunches there. Our wait staff was excellent and very accommodating. We took a bottle of wine to dinner every night and were only charged the corkage one time. Loved the food, great presentation, variety, etc., etc., etc.!!! Sailed Yakutat Bay the next day back to Hubbard Glacier. Absolutely incredible sight!!! The ship got within 1/2 mile of the glacier. we sat portside(which made us very happy) for probably 45 minutes. Saw lots of calving again. It was colder on the balcony but we still enjoyed it Arrived in Juneau the next day. Rainy and foggy in the morning, but cleared later. Walked to town and bought the pass for the Mt. Roberts Tramway. This is a daily pass when it is purchased there so we rode it again later in the day when the weather cleared more. Saw bald eagles very close at the top of the mountain. Stopped by the Red Dog Saloon in town. Cute place, good stop. In port early the next day at Skagway. Pretty windy here. Walked the short distance to town. In-laws took the shuttle for $1.00. Cute little town, lots of shops, pretty touristy. Good beer at Skagway Brewery. Saw some humpback whales as we were sailing out from Skagway through Lynn Canal. Naturalists (2) on our ship did a great job explaining different things and pointing out sights and wildlife. Arrived at Ketchikan the next day. We booked a city tour, Trolley Tour, on the dock. Walked around town in the morning, shopped then headed back to the ship for lunch. Got our tour at 2:30. Good tour and good bus driver. Drove around the town, visited an eagle's next, Saxman Totem Park and got off the bus and walked back to the ship from Creek Street. Stayed up for the Grand Buffet. Went there at 11:30 for picture time only. We were still full from dinner anyway, but it certainly looked good! Next day at sea through the Inside Passage. Beautiful day so we got to really enjoy our balcony, Saw porpoises and killer whales. Beautiful scenery again. Debarkation went pretty smooth. We were allowed to wait in public areas or in your own room. Waited in our room which was much nicer. Our color tag was called about 9:30. We had booked a Vancouver City Tour on the ship since our flight wasn't until 5:30. Had a good bus driver for the 3+ hour tour. Visited Chinatown, Gaslamp District, Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. Dropped off at the airport. We used room service each morning to order two pots of coffee and orange juice to have while we showered and got moving. Really enjoyed the dining room. We left our tips on the Sign and Sail card but also gave extra to our waiter and assistant waiter. We also gave a small tip to the Maitre'd since he is not included in the tipping. Nice casino. Only went to the shows a couple of times. Denny Brunk was very entertaining, the other show was a comedy show and pretty lame. Decorating of the ship was fine, that kind of thing is not going to affect my cruise. We were disappointed there was not a sushi bar.(we had sailed on the Elation before and there was one.) We were also disappointed they didn't offer escargot anywhere on the ship the whole week. Overall, we had a great cruise and loved the ship. Booked it for another cruise next April to Hawaii. Sorry this is so long, hope it's helpful to someone out there. karchar4@hotmail.comSeptember 2002 Read Less
Boarding: We arrived at the port of Miami at around 11:00 am. Cruise departure was 4:00 pm so it was kind of early, however we would rather wait sitting down than get stuck standing in long lines. When we first started processing we ... Read More
Boarding: We arrived at the port of Miami at around 11:00 am. Cruise departure was 4:00 pm so it was kind of early, however we would rather wait sitting down than get stuck standing in long lines. When we first started processing we thought we were going to walk right on the ship. Ticket taking and initial processing took no time at all. We ended up sitting in one room for 10 minutes then got moved to another that had chairs for everybody. Once we moved to this room we had to wait for about an hour. Eventually around 1:30 we were boarding the ship. My experience was that it was great to arrive so early, and I would probably do this way again. Not sure how Carnival could improve upon this as there were still passengers on the ship from the previous cruise, so they could not speed things up. First two days at sea: The cabin was wonderful. We were in an 8I cabin on the right side of the boat near the back. Unfortunately this side of the ship is always on the opposite side from the ports. Oh well. Cabin was very large, larger than both Holland America and Costa. I wish however that they could make the room look a little more sterile with white paint. The orange walls and bed was a little too much for me. The food in the Bistro was great. I recommend the Asian buffet as it always had great food. I especially loved the hot chili sauce that they had. I had rice and chili sauce mixed together many times as a meal. The deli station was great as well. Make sure you ask them to pile the meat really high. I had one of the best Reubens in my life. I would recommend to stay away from the rotisserie part as most of the food reminded me of Furrs cafeteria. Pizza was incredible. I believe we consumed 4 or 5 pies throughout the trip, especially late at night! We enjoyed the dinners in the dining room. Our dining room staff was great! Keep a look out for the Pumpkin soup. That was my wife's favorite! She had it for starters, dessert 1 and dessert 2! The supper club was amazing. Plan to spend quite a bit of time there. We had the crab claws, porterhouse and Filet. The Lobster Bisque was great as well. Living in Dallas we have access to some of the finest steak houses around, and I would have to say the supper club was much better (especially for the money). Unfortunately our second attempt at the supper club was not as great as the steaks were not cooked as well. Oh well, all in all we would still recommend it. Unfortunately it rained the first day at sea, however the second was full of fun in the sun. We spent most of the shiny time relaxing in the sun. I would recommend to Carnival to add more pool games, especially a beer chugging contest! Speaking of pool games, I was the grand winner of the Carnival Survivor! We didn't see many of the shows because we were really turned off by the Cruise Director. Amy is a very good singer and entertainer, however as a CD we were very unhappy. She had a very annoying cheesy voice that got on your nerves. In my opinion Skippy was much better as a CD. We loved the late night Comedy acts. Both that we saw were very funny. I would highly recommend them. My wife and I are not smokers, so we didn't spend any time in the Piano bar. It was always extremely smoky. Also, there is a path that you must take from the Dining room to the entertainment on the boat that took you right through the cigar smoking area. I always found this walk very unappealing as the smoke in that area was very overpowering (even though I do smoke cigars occasionally). Panama: Loved Panama. It was a great experience to go through the Locks. I would recommend that the excursion be modified a bit. There is a very long bus ride that takes you to the furthest lock away. They then put you on a boat that takes you back in the direction you came from. You go through 2 sets of locks and then take a long river cruise. The time on the locks was great, however the bus ride before and after and the cruise on the boat before and after the locks was way too long. I would rather see the excursion drop you off just before the closest lock, go through one set, and then take you immediately back. This way it is not such a long and tiring day. Costa Rica: We found Costa Rica to be the most amazing place that we had been. We did the whitewater rafting which was truly breathtaking. Not that the whitewater itself was so great, just the entire package of taking a bus ride through the rain forest, seeing the smaller communities, and the scenery while on the raft. I would highly recommend this excursion to anybody. Belize: First of all, if you don't go on an excursion you will hate Belize. The city itself is very dirty and leaves a lot to be desired. We opted for the Cave tubing and were very happy with it. The bus ride to the rafting wasn't that great, as the scenery isn't that exciting. Once you arrive at the site were the tubing takes place you start to realize that the day is going to shape up to be wonderful. This rainforest was different than Costa Rica, and the hike through it was breathtaking. Another excellent tour. My wife and I both commented that we would do this exact same cruise again as it was all perfect! You can see pics from our trip at : http://community.webshots.com/album/67691498IicXDb and http://community.webshots.com/album/67692531tANOqx usa-silby@attbi.com July 2003 Read Less
This was our 4th Carnival cruise, and the best thus far. After having been on the Destiny, Triumph and Inspiration in the last year, the Spirit was a totally different and a markedly improved experience for us. We were worried slightly ... Read More
This was our 4th Carnival cruise, and the best thus far. After having been on the Destiny, Triumph and Inspiration in the last year, the Spirit was a totally different and a markedly improved experience for us. We were worried slightly about this trip after some negative reviews we had read, and I am pleased to give you this glowing review. The Ship: Magnificent. We loved the dEcor, very rich and classy. We liked the layout of the atrium and all of the social floors being on level 2 and 3. They gave the photo area its own section on deck 3, which avoided the traffic jams which occurs on the Destiny class. The shopping area had its own section, also, and was never crowded. We noticed that with a full ship, we were never over-crowded anywhere. The ship was very smooth, and we thought it handled the seas wonderfully. There were a lot of non-smoking areas, in fact smoking was in designated areas only, which is in bold print in the capers everyday. As non-smokers, we truly appreciated this. The topless deck had a design flaw, as it had a weird "observation" deck above it that always had a couple of people lurking over the topless women. The showroom was great, with very few problem areas for viewing the shows. We loved the many bars and lounges throughout the ship. The Versailles lounge, on deck 1, under the Pharaoh Showroom, was a very unique but under-used lounge that we walked through several times. My favorite element of the ship was a glass staircase that protruded out of the Nouveau Supper Club right under the funnel at the highest level of the atrium. When you walked down this glass staircase and looked down through the stairs you could see all the way down to the atrium bar. The Dining Experience: There are big differences in food on this ship. I know they are supposed to be "uniform", but they simply are not. The food was much better on this ship, across the board. The main dining room was very nice, with a lot of smaller tables, even for two. The staff seemed to very happy and worked together very nicely. Due to the extra day, we had a different menu one night which included crab legs. They were wonderful, even split open and cut in half, so there was no work to it. One improvement for the lido dining areas would be that in the morning they should have separate areas for the omelet stations, as it caused unnecessary back-ups for people who did not want an omelet. The lunch was wonderful on the lido everyday- Chinese, a theme buffet, rotisserie area and my favorite, the deli, where I had a fresh grilled Rueben everyday! Beware of one lido lunch item, though: one day I saw what I thought was pineapple upside cake, but in fact it was glazed pear bleu-cheese cake... yuck! The Nouveau Supper Club was absolutely not to be missed. We had a dinner that lasted over 3 hours, and were blown away by the service and the food. I had the biggest and best filet mignon I have ever had. The lobster bisque was absolutely wonderful, but make sure it is hot. Ours was lukewarm, but it tasted so good we ate it anyway, and we both suffered stomach problems later from it. Go very hungry to this venue! It was well worth the $25 surcharge. The Stateroom: We had an extended balcony stateroom, #6226, on the Empress Deck, category 8E. It was a drastic improvement over cabins in the other classes. There was a mailbox outside every stateroom for Capers and such, which was a great idea. There was a hairdryer that worked great located in the top drawer of the dresser area. This was nice as it also drew you away from the bathroom to finish getting ready so the other person could take a shower. The extended balcony was awesome, and well worth it. My only complaint is in the combination of a higher uncomfortable chair and a nice Adirondack style chair. I wish there were two comfortable Adirondack style chairs. These chair combinations were also the same on the Destiny class, so it is not unique to the Spirit balconies. The colors in the stateroom were a welcome change, with light cherry cabinetry and muted pleasant colors. The usual pepto-pink theme is gone, yeah! The bathroom was adequate, with an improvement in the amount of shelves for your things. I was disappointed that there was not Fun-vision installed on the Spirit, it was nice on the Destiny class to be able to check your sail and sign account and order shore excursions. A neat thing to note is that there are drawers under the sofa to store shoes, snorkel gear, etc. They chose to use leather pulls on the drawers and cabinet doors, which was nice as they did not catch your clothing as you walked by. There was a beautiful glass light over one mirror above the dresser with a colored glass design, which I thought was a beautiful touch. The Cruise Director and Entertainment Staff: Amy, the cruise director, was awesome. We heard a couple of grumpy people muttering things about her, but we thought she was great. She was the most active cruise director I have seen yet. She and her assistant, Skippy, did a morning show every morning! It was great to see them having fun with their job. Amy was always very informative, cheery and was very talented. Not only was she the CD, but she was also the star of many of the performances, and a very talented one at that. We enjoyed all of the entertainment staff, especially when Steve did the bingo. The ports: We did the Two Oceans By Railroad trip in Panama, which was fantastic. We had a fantastic train-ride from the Caribbean side, along the Panama Canal, to Panama City. We had a brief tour of Panama City, a stop for pictures of the Bridge of The Americas, a tour of one of the locks, then back to the Caribbean side via train again. The train was very clean, beautiful and fun. They provided coffee on the way and a box lunch on the way back. This is a port that you do not want to wander off into. It is a very dangerous place, so be sure to book a tour and stick with it to have a great experience like we did. In Costa Rica we did the Shamen's Land Walk, which was an hour and half bus ride to a rustic resort called Almonds and Corrals in the Rain Forest. From there we went on an hour hike through the Rain Forest, where we saw all kinds of different tree's, poison tree frogs, spiders and my favorite, a bunch of monkeys jumping tree to tree. On the bus ride we got a good snapshot of that side of Costa Rica, even passing some banana plantations. The shopping was not very good here, but we expected that. Last we visited Belize. We booked Goff's Caye Snorkeling. Awesome. They picked us right up off the boat in lieu of tendering in to catch the tour. A half hour boat ride took us to a little tiny island on the barrier reef where they took us for a 1 hour guided snorkel off the boat, then a couple more hours on the beach to snorkel on your own. My only disappointment with this is that there were some people who complained about being hot and wanted to go back early and we did, which I thought was wrong. This was our favorite excursion. When we got back to the ship we had time to shower, have a quick lunch and catch a tender in to Belize City for shopping. This port was beautiful, and they had the best shopping area of the cruise. Summary: Our best and favorite cruise yet. I would highly recommend the Spirit to any destination, and I would recommend this itinerary as well. We loved the extra sea days, and the 8th day really added an extra day of relaxation. Kudos to Carnival on this ship! jmkokopeli@hotmail.com July 2003 Read Less
WE HAD AN ABSOLUTE BLAST! Having sailed before on 2 of the Fantasy Class ships: Sensation and Elation, and then on the Destiny Class Victory, it was nice to go back to a ship that carried less passengers, like the first two. Basically a ... Read More
WE HAD AN ABSOLUTE BLAST! Having sailed before on 2 of the Fantasy Class ships: Sensation and Elation, and then on the Destiny Class Victory, it was nice to go back to a ship that carried less passengers, like the first two. Basically a Fantasy Class footprint as far as size, the Spirit was similar yet very different. All of the public rooms are on the bottom decks, with most of the cabins on the upper decks, and the atrium is more midship to aft versus forward. This means that very few cabins have foot traffic from lounges, disco, etc. overhead. Cabin sizes are great, as usual, and the balcony is the only way to go! The dEcor is hardly gaudy, with much more natural woodwork and soft lighting on this ship, a welcome departure from other Carnival vessels. After one night at the Holiday Inn on Sheridan in Fort Lauderdale, our check-in experience was a breeze, (got to the Miami terminal at noon and there were lots of agents working) and we were on the Lido deck for lunch by 12:40. Belize, Costa Rica and Panama were the ports of call and since we had some time we booked our tours right away. The Excursion Desk was open at 12:30! Be sure to note that this exotic itinerary means lots to see-- wildlife, beautiful and lush rainforest, history and culture. This is not a tour of "Caribbean-Shop-Til-You-Drop" like other destinations. Sure there are items to buy, but you will find that you will spend more $ on experiences than on material things. If you really want to take the boat tour through the Panama Canal (the $155 tour), book it ASAP! You won't regret it! The canal is a marvel! In Belize we did the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins and River Wallace Tour. Lots of interesting history of the lost civilization and a visit to one of the hundreds of Mayan sites right there in Belize alone. The river is a showy display of green, water and plants and trees, flowers, butterflies, birds, crocodiles, iguanas, black howler monkeys, and then as the river joins the Caribbean, you will see the manatees coming up for air - a real treat! In Costa Rica we took the Green Train tour. The train itself is not green, it's blue, but the scenery is! The 1930's rail cars take you from Limon (where EVERYONE will wave at you) through the rain forest and into the banana plantations. There is a small market place at the pier where you can get wood crafts and coffee—we like Cafe Rey the best! These countries are trying to get into the tourism business to help the local economy. They have not been at this for very long but are doing well so far. We were warned not to do any on-our-own touring and this is good advice. There is little police protection and there are no guarantees of anyone's safety in these areas. For more info I would suggest visiting the US State Department website: http://www.state.gov/ Follow the link for Travel and Living Abroad. Don't be scared, enjoy your time there, but be smart about it. Ok, back to the ship. Food. So much of it, so little time! Empire Dining room was great, service and food was excellent. One night we had Snow Crab Legs as an entrEe choice. Be sure to get it! Lido deck breakfast was really good, but the lunch options were wonderful! Besides the grill, (burgers, dogs, minute steaks) there was the Asian Wok which was great! Usually one soup, white rice, lo mien, then 3 entrEes, one vegetarian, GREAT sushi, and some other type of appetizer, spring roll / egg roll or wonton. This was the place to eat if you like spicy food, there was usually one item that was packed with heat! Then the Deli which served awesome Reuben's and pastrami, corned beef, turkey, tuna, roast beef sandwiches! The Rotisserie has chef carved meat, ribs, jerk pork, corn on the cob, baked potatoes and the like. Salad bar, prepared salads, fresh fruit, cheese and meats such as mortadella rounded out the Lido Deck offerings. Did I mention dessert? Of course there's the 24 Pizzeria and Ice cream / Frozen Yogurt. Try the goat cheese and mushroom pizza - it's to die for! Nouveau Supper Club. An ABSOLUTE MUST! Yes, there is a $25 cover charge per person, but the food is a notch up from the Empire and you will be pampered and catered to like nothing else! I especially recommend the Onion Soup, and the Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake! While all entrEes look great, we had the Joe's stone crab and the lobster and were thrilled with them. After a bottle of wine and tip it was $90, but worth every penny! We had dinner reservations for 6 PM and we were the only ones there until 7! We had a window table on the starboard side and enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Ecaterina took great care of us! Sailing was great except for one day - first full day at sea after leaving Panama. The east coast of the US had just been pounded with snow and we were in the path of the cold front that followed that storm system. We had 8-10 foot sea swells. MANY people were sea sick, but I took my Bonine and had no problems. At one point, they considered canceling the show because it was not safe for the dancers to perform. It greatly improved by 8:30 PM, so the show went on and it was completely calm by 11 PM. That was the night of the Grand Gala Buffet and there were a lot of people there who had not been able to eat at dinner but were feeling better and famished by midnight! It was a GREAT cruise and we had an OUTSTANDING time. The crew was great, and the customer service was top notch. We really enjoy sailing on Carnival and apparently MANY people do because the Repeat Cruisers' Reception was held in the Pharaoh's Palace (show theatre). It was the only venue big enough to hold the 1,446 repeat cruisers out of the 2,020 total passengers on our voyage! ekkost@yahoo.com July 2003 Read Less
Vancouver - Juneau - Glacier Bay - Skagway - Ketchikan - Vancouver Carnival Transfer Since I flew in the day before, I took the hotel shuttle to Vancouver Airport and arrived at 10:45 AM to take Carnival's transfer to pier. Boarded ... Read More
Vancouver - Juneau - Glacier Bay - Skagway - Ketchikan - Vancouver Carnival Transfer Since I flew in the day before, I took the hotel shuttle to Vancouver Airport and arrived at 10:45 AM to take Carnival's transfer to pier. Boarded bus quickly and it left airport at 11:00 AM. It was suppose to be a 35-to-40 minute ride, but took about 70 minutes because the bus driver decided to give us a "tour" of Vancouver. He kept making stops and getting up and talking about Vancouver this and that. It was a horrible ride for me because I just wanted to get to the pier to board the ship. Then the driver told us to tell anyone who asks that there was a lot of traffic. He seemed to have done this for an extra tip. This waste of my time (since I had no interest in this deviation) made me decide not to give him a tip at all. Boarding Ship This was unusually slow. It took about 90 minutes to get to the security checkpoint. We all had to carry our own luggage up to that security checkpoint. That's what the delayed seemed to be. Once I passed that point, the rest was extremely quick. I was on the guaranteed single share program and they told me I was with Cynthia. I was shocked that I was paired with a Female. I've done the share program before and it's always been with another male. Well, I felt a little uncomfortable with the idea, but figure I could probably live with it. We all had to pass through U.S. Immigration before boarding the ship. I was upgraded from Category 1A to Category 4C. I proceeded to my cabin and open my door. Cynthia immediately asked if I had her luggage, I told her that this was my room. She exclaimed "It can't be." I showed her my boarding pass and told my key opened the door. We then decided the best thing to do was to go to the information desk. We explained the situation. They were very nice and friendly. They apologized for the mistake and gave Cynthia another cabin and each of us ended up having our own cabin. It turned out great. By the time that was done, it was 3:00 PM. Went up to have a quick lunch: Burger & Fries with salad on the side. It was delicious. Meeting with other Cruise Critic Members We had scheduled a 4:00 PM meeting by Shore Tours Desk. I had forgotten my belt, so I got off in Vancouver to go purchase my belt. I had also plan to check in at the office. The bad thing is that it took me awhile to find a belt and the Internet was down for a while. By the time it was up and running, it was too late for me to make it back to the ship by 4:00 PM. So unfortunately, I did not get back in time to meet with the Electronic Friends. This was also due to the new security procedures and extra long bus ride. Had things gone as they used to, I would have been on board by 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM the latest, which would have given me plenty of time to get back by 4:00 PM. Sorry to all Cruise Critics I didn't meet as scheduled. However, I did ran into Pam at La Playa Grill and then later met Betty and Bobbi at the Repeat Cruisers Party. Also Met Lynn and Bob at the Spirit Atrium. To clear things up, Betty and Lynn called my cabin to arrange to meet. It was great to have met them, but we didn't get a chance to talk much. First Night I was assigned late sitting (which I had requested) at a table for 4 in the upstairs part of the restaurant. My tablemates were Cynthia (my ex-cabin mate) and a couple from Canada on their Honeymoon Anniversary. Very nice people all of them. Had a good dinner. Decided to skip dessert and ran over to the singles party, which was to start at 9:30 PM. I got to Club Cool and it looked more like couples than a single party. There was nothing going on, so I went outside the lounge a little confused. There I met Teresa, she was there for the singles party too. We started talking outside. Inside, the host was asking for singles and there appeared to be only 2 singles inside, and of course, Teresa and me outside. While Teresa and I chatted, Donna (Teresa's friend) came by and I was introduced to her. We all went inside to the "singles party." There was actually no party. I guess the host felt there weren't enough singles to continue with a party, so nothing was done for the singles. While we chatted, Teresa and Donna saw their other friend, Melanie, outside the lounge looking for them. I decided to go and approach her. I went outside and told Melanie that Teresa and Donna were inside. She came in and joined us. And that's how I met the first 3 great new friends. Dancing Dance was a pretty cool place. The first night it was kind of dead. One wall was covered with TV Monitors that changed from strange figures to camera of the disco to other objects. Also, the other wall was covered with different colored lights. The disco had the usual party lights, including a dance floor that illuminated in different colors. The DJ wasn't good at mixing, but he did play requests (if he had them in the computer). There was absolutely no mixing, just throwing in one song after the other. In fact, the DJ left the booth several times unattended and the computer did the work. Thursday Started with breakfast at the La Playa Grill. Loved the made to order omelets and the selection of breakfast food. Throughout the cruise, breakfast in La Playa Grill was the same. But it was good and you can vary from omelets to pancakes, from eggs cooked your way to French toast, from cereal to bagels, from orange juice to coffee or hot chocolate, etc. Spend most of the day relaxing, including some time in the Jacuzzi. Since I had done a lot of walking in Vancouver (like 6 miles), I decided no exercise for that Thursday. During my relaxation, I decided to eat lunch in La Playa Grill, forgot what I ate each day, but it was very good. Also went to dance class and they taught me how to dance "Merenge." It was fun. There I met Judy, Maria and Niki. Plus a few others I didn't catch their names. We then had the Captain's welcome aboard party. It was formal night, so shirt & tie, with dress slacks and shoes. That's as formal as I wanted to get. Left my jacket at home because I usually just wore it in and out of the dining room. It was pretty good. I did manage to have 5 drinks. They do serve you the type of drink you want, not just what's on the tray, but you have to ask for them. Then after the party it was off to dinner in the dining room. That night went to the disco and met Teresa, Anita, and Vicky. Three great girls, it was fun to dance with them and chit chat. Dance almost all night. Towards the end, it was practically crew only. I asked a beautiful crew member to dance, and she accepted. We danced for a while and it was fun. Her name was Monika and she played in a Classical Trio on board the ship. Friday (Juneau) Skipped breakfast. Then and early lunch (La Playa Grill). Met Allison and invited her to join a group of use who were going to Mendanhall Glacier via City bus for $1.25 each way. Advised her it included a hike about 1.5 to 2 miles. She and her cabin mate agreed to join us. We agreed to meet outside the ship by the Green little building. It was an extremely long line to get out that took me about 20 minutes to get out. Once I met them, they had decided to do a city tour and Mendanhall Glacier with a Tour Bus for $20.00. Another friend decided to join them, so it was just me and two friends going on the city bus. It was about a 45 minute trip, It was and easy walk to Mendanhall Glacier. One friend and I decided to go for the 3.5 mile hike for beautiful scenery. We were warned about the bears. We had seen on already, but were advised what to do if we see them on the trial. We are supposed to talk to them until they move away. We are not supposed to show any fear nor run away. In worse case scenario, if the bear attacks anyway, we were instructed to just hit the bear. Those instructions were a bit scary, but we didn't encounter any bears, though I was ready with my camera in case we did spot a bear. It was raining the whole hike and it was uphill, then downhill. It took us over two hours. It was starting to get dark and we seemed to be so far away from the end of the trail. We finally made it. When we got out, the tour buses and cars where all gone. We saw one pass by and we both were tempted to hitchhike, but we didn't. Then came a tour bus and my friend stopped it. They did give us a ride. Everyone in the bus seemed to laughed at us. It was quite an adventure. I rate this hike only for those in great physical fitness. We could barely walk, but when we got to the ship, I decided to walk around town before getting on board. Walked only a few minutes, then decided the Jacuzzi on board would be ideal right then. So headed for the Jacuzzi. But on board the ship, saw some girls and they asked me if I was going to the disco, and sure enough I responded yes. After the Jacuzzi, quick shower, then had dinner in the dining room (it was some delicious chicken). My ex-cabin mate told me she arranged for me to have dinner with two girls around my age for Saturday night. After dinner, barely able to walk, I walked around deck and saw Monika drinking something. She was alone, so I joined her and we chatted for a while. What a beautiful young lady. If you see her on board (She plays the violin with the classical trio), tell her Hector says hello. Afterwards, I headed to the disco and danced the night away. What fun it was. Saturday (Glacier Bay) Oh, what pain. I felt like I was hit by a train then thrown in bed. Could barely walk most of the day. Got up early and had breakfast. Then relaxed most of the day with lunch at the Playa Grill. There were beautiful sites in Glacier Bay. I was out on deck (along with lo's of other people) and just watching the Glaciers. Nice relaxing day. Got to see eagles, seals and Killer Whales. Took a dance class (I think it was Waltz this day). Headed to the Jacuzzi right before dinner. Met these two nice young ladies for dinner. It was quiet conversation, but it was nice. We talked about meeting up at the disco. I told them I would be there if they decided to stop by. After dinner, I went to my cabin for a short nap and that was it, I was out for the night. Realized I was supposed to be at the disco, but it was already 1:30 AM. Put on my shoes and headed to the disco, it was dead. I was glad because I was tired, so I headed back to the cabin and fell asleep again. Sunday (Skagway) Got up a little later than usual (at about 8:30 AM). Head breakfast with a few girls. Told them I was going to church at 10:00 AM and was not doing any tours. One of them said she would join me. Met her at pier. We walked into a nice little town. I loved the way the town was. We headed to church and there had been a schedule changed for that Sunday. My friend headed over next door, I decided to stay for some prayer and read the daily scriptures and sang some songs. It was pretty good. Afterwards, I went into a store to buy key rings. They had such bargains, I came out with a large bag of souvenirs. I then had to worry about packing them later, I already had purchased them and never thought about having to take them home on my limited space. But I did manage ok. They were offering the train ride for only $30 (2 & ½ hours). It was very tempting, but I was still very tired from Juneau and I had walked into town, which was a good walk. So I declined and headed back to the ship. Played some gameboy, lunch and Jacuzzi. Decided to try out the treadmill, but I was too tired, so only walked ½ mile because I really wanted to try them out since they were new and looked very state of the art. Great treadmills. This was the second formal night. Dressed up as usual. nice Dinner at dining room. Then walked around the lounges. Ended up in the disco and danced the night away. It was fun again. Monday (Ketchikan) Had breakfast on board. Then did a little walking around town. Prices were not as good as in Skagway. Boarded the ship for lunch. Had lunch with two friends. They had some delicious cookies. I got a slice of chocolate cake. I was going to eat this for my friend back home. It was my friend's birthday and I had agreed to eat chocolate cake. Today's chocolate cake wasn't that good. But with ice cold milk, it was pretty good. I silently sang Happy Birthday to my friend (she was all the way in Chicago and couldn't hear me anyway). Then I decided to go to Walmart. When I got off, I asked for directions and they told me to take the bus, but it would drop me of about ¾ of a mile away from Walmart and would have to walk the rest They also told me about a mall about 1 mile away. Decided to walk to the mall instead and bought a cable I was looking for. Then came back and relaxed in the Jacuzzi, Sauna and steam room. No exercise on board, all the walking was enough. Had dinner and ended up in the Karaoke Party. Nobody seemed to want to sing. One guy was bribed into singing. I decided to help encourage people by passing out the books which listed the songs available. A few did sing, and I was asked a couple of times. I kind of wanted, but never done it before and I wasn't brave enough at first. Finally, I did it and sand "You and I" from Eddie Rabbit and Crystal Gail. It was fun. I then joined this other girl and we sang "Bailamos" together. The host gave me a big medal (they gave one to anyone who sang that night). Then I met up with some of the other friends and ended up at the disco again. I agreed with one of the Teresa that next night we would sing together at the Karaoke Party. Tuesday Got up the latest today (about 9:30 AM). Got ready and went to arts and craft class. Didn't learn much, but got a nice kit to make a memo pad holder and pen holder. Skipped breakfast and had an early lunch at la playa grill. I was supposed to have met the two nice girls for lunch, but they had changed the time and I already had plans for dance class at 2:00 PM with another friend. It was a nice lunch, a little relaxation with game boy, then to dance class. Didn't like the dance class and my friend didn't show up on time, so I didn't join the class. More relaxation, Jacuzzi, and Sauna. Went to Karaoke and met with Teresa. She couldn't pick out a song, so I suggested "You and I" because now she could do the female part. We did it and off to dinner. Then chatted with some of the girls and went to pack. Then to the disco one last night. Didn't stay too long this time. REVIEWS La Playa Grill Excellent Food and Service. Much better than any other cruises I've taken. And this was my 18th Carnival Cruise. I rate this: A+. Dining Room It was a great Dining Room Wait Team. To be honest, I think Carnival had much better waiters and busboys than now that they implemented the new Dining Room Wait Team. I don't think the waiter and waitress we had were bad, but they were more busy. Maybe they had many more people to attend. I can't pinpoint the difference, but it was quite a difference. All the other cruises, I knew my waiter and specially my busboy by name. Service was much more attentive and faster. Nothing to complain about, but it wasn't the same. C-. Supper Club Didn't try it, but friends said it was great. So no rating on my part, but did looked very nice. Disco and Lounges They were excellent. I thought the designs were great. Everything was spotless and shinny. Loved it very much. The Disco music was kind of lousy, since it was the same music again and again. I requested "Dancing Queen" for a friend and they played it 4 times in less than an hour. But DJ Ray did take request. I rate these: A. Jacuzzi's & Pools I think they were great. They could have been warmer. Dome Pool was good, but the outside ones were a bit cold for an Alaskan Cruise. Water Slide was never opened and if it was, I wouldn't have gone on it (too cold). I rate this: B+. Gymnasium Great new machines. Didn't try to many, but did checked them out. Nice Sauna and Steam Room. I rate this: A+. Pizzeria Delicious Pizzas, Salads, Garlic Bread and Calzones. I rate this A. Outdoor decks Very nice and spacious. I prefer the railing than the glass that was used mostly everywhere. I specially enjoyed the outdoor deck on Level 3. I rate these decks: A-. Information Desk Very friendly and helpful every single time (3 times). I rate this: A+. Carnival Transfers What a mess. I did it years ago and I will say the same thing. Never again. Long lines to get going and not very convenient. I rate this: F. Shows I won't go too much in here because I skipped most of them. But the ones I did see were ok. I would rate them: B. Activities I played Win Loose & Draw, Karaoke Dance Classes, Arts & Crafts and Tea Time. There were plenty more. I would rate them: A. Movement For the most part, it was very smooth cruising. But the ship does move considerably in rough seas. It did get some people seasick, but most of us were just fine. Climate Control There was a quick cool button that I never quite learned how to use. But found most areas to be very comfortable. Not too cold and not too warm. Keep in mind this was an Alaskan Cruise. They better turn up the A/C for Caribbean Cruises. I would rate this: A. If you have any questions, feel free to E-mail me at CruiserKidHec@cs.comOctober 2001 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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