Sail Date: September 2011
We had not cruised Carnival in two years due to a MINOR dispute with Carnival that was never resolved favorably. Our last Carnival cruise was on the Pride relocation cruise from Los Angeles to Miami via the Panama Canal. This was our 9th ... Read More
We had not cruised Carnival in two years due to a MINOR dispute with Carnival that was never resolved favorably. Our last Carnival cruise was on the Pride relocation cruise from Los Angeles to Miami via the Panama Canal. This was our 9th Carnival cruise and 20th overall. We relented and returned to Carnival primarily because of the fantastic price and 9 day itinerary of this cruise. We flew into Los Angeles from Kansas City and took the Super Shuttle from LAX to Long Beach. The cost was $34 for the two of us. We stayed at the Residence Inn, Long Beach. It was a very clean hotel with views of the harbor, Queen Mary, and Long Beach terminal. Breakfast was provided. When we made our reservation, the hotel staff had told us they provided transportation to the cruise terminal. Upon arrival, we learned they meant the Long Beach terminal and not San Pedro. Had we known this, we may have made other arrangements. Cab fare from the hotel to San Pedro was about $30 including tip. We ate dinner at George's Greek restaurant on Thursday night - we highly recommend George's. The food was outstanding, the service excellent, and reasonably priced. On Friday morning I walked down to the terminal where the Carnival Paradise was docked. It was about 7:30am and people were already there waiting to board. Our fun pass documents indicated boarding time was 12:30pm - 2:30pm, so we left the hotel around 12:30pm for San Pedro. We had previously cruised out of Long Beach six times and San Pedro once. We have experienced several debacles at Long Beach but our previous trip out of San Pedro went very smoothly so we expected things to go well. When we arrived at San Pedro, we immediately saw a very long line of people with their bags that stretched the length of the terminal and around the corner. As our driver was unloading our bags, he was besieged by desperate people needing rides to the Long Beach and Los Angeles airports. It was like a scene from the movie "Apocalypse Now". He explained to them he had to go to the cab stand and take his place in line, but we realized there were no cabs anywhere so there was no line and no cabs available. About this time a porter came by with a cart of bags. We realized he was assisting a passenger that was debarking the Spirit. The porter told us the ship had arrived late - maybe around 10:30am. He also told us he couldn't take our bags that we'd have to wait in the long line I previously described. I asked him where I could find a Carnival representative. My wife had knee replacement surgery recently and our PVP had arranged for a wheelchair during embarkation. Someone had even called from Carnival a few days before we left to verify. He told us that he would take our bags. We had four bags so I tipped him twenty dollars and it was twenty dollars well spent. I asked where do we go and he told us to go right into the terminal. When we entered the terminal we received a letter from Carnival indicating our itinerary had changed because of Hurricane Hillary. Ensenada would be our first port rather than last and we would spend one day at Cabo San Lucas rather than two. This change proved to be effective because we didn't experience any bad weather. We were directed upstairs where we saw another long line as well as lots of people sitting. We were given a number and told to sit and when our number was called we could stand in line. I asked about the wheelchair and the Carnival representative told me that all wheelchairs were busy and they would try and find one. When they called our number they had no wheelchairs but the Carnival rep asked if my wife could walk. We told her yes but she couldn't stand for a long period. They put us into the special assistance line and we moved through the process very quickly. We were probably on the ship in about an hour. There were, however, many people that waited hours. This entire process was stressful for many passengers - especially those that showed up very early expecting to board the ship at 11am. In light of the circumstances, I thought the Carnival and port employees did an admirable job. Carnival could, however, have done something for the passengers to recognize the inconvenience. A small onboard credit or reduced drink prices maybe. I thought the ship looked great, and for the most part, all areas were clean and well maintained. Our cabin was 5124 an extended balcony cabin on the port side and my wife remarked that it was the cleanest cabin she'd ever seen. Our cabin steward was George and he was great. The ship did not depart until 6:30pm (2 1/2 hours late) and the muster drill was longer than normal because there were passengers on the Lido deck that - in the words of the CD refused to present themselves to the drill. Finally, the CD threatened to have them escorted to the drill. We had dinner the first night in the steakhouse. Everyone dining in the steakhouse the first evening received a complimentary bottle of wine. It was an excellent meal and well worth the additional charge. We decided to check the dinner menus daily and if there were no menu choices that appealed to us, we'd return to the steakhouse. That didn't happen. We thought the food in the main dining room was very good. I'm not sure if the menus were the new menus or not. Shrimp cocktail wasn't on the menu every night and the comfort foods were on there. We particularly enjoyed some of the vegetarian entrees -black bean enchilada and polenta. I did order the shrimp and fries from the comfort food section one night. Once again, we thought the food in the main dining room was great and the lido food was good. Our waiters in the dining room were okay. The entertainment was okay - there seemed to be more comedians than usual -we enjoyed Jerome who we hadn't seen in several years. There were two musical production shows and they were pretty good. Our favorite entertainment was listening to Dan Patrick (I believe) who was a one man country type band playing in the atrium every night. We are not big country western fans but really enjoyed Dan. During the day, there was a two man Caribbean band that was okay. We had scheduled three excursions and two of them were cancelled. We took the Magic Pueblos tour at Manzanillo and enjoyed it. It was a long (8 hours on this day) tour that went into the mountains where it was much cooler. Lunch was provided and it was very good. Our tour guide, Marcos, was very knowledgeable and we probably learned more things from him than from any tour guide we've ever had. At Puerto Vallerta, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada we shopped and then returned to the ship and sat by the pool. Our tours at Cabo and Ensenada had been cancelled and having been there several times before we didn't see anything else we wanted to take. It was VERY HOT at Cabo. We found the vendors are much more aggressive than during previous trips. One told us that Americans don't spend money like they used to. The weather during this cruise was great - despite the presence of a hurricane, the seas were very calm and no rain during the days. Stuart Dunn was the cruise director - he may be leaving the ship. He did say that he will be cruise director when the ship moves to Australia. All in all, this was a good vacation at a great price. The Spirit is a well ran ship and the staff were friendly - even the guest services desk. We enjoyed this cruise enough to book it again March 16, 2012. We will miss the Spirit class ships on the west coast once the Spirit departs for Australia next year. We also purchased future cruise certificates while on board which appear to be a good deal. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Embarkation: Basically worst ever. However, I expected it as the Spirit was repositioning and I knew this was the first time Carnival had used San Pedro in a long time. The long shoremans union should be ashamed. I actually heard them ... Read More
Embarkation: Basically worst ever. However, I expected it as the Spirit was repositioning and I knew this was the first time Carnival had used San Pedro in a long time. The long shoremans union should be ashamed. I actually heard them tell a woman with her mother in a wheel chair, sorry we can't take your bags, you need to push her to the end of the line, oh about two blocks away and drag your bags yourself. I was horrified and demanded they take the womans luggage. Yes, I had already waited in line an hour, but what have we come to if we can't help out people with genuine needs. First an hour wait to porter your bags, then into the terminal to get a zone ticket, another hour wait for your zone to be called, at least you could sit, and then another hour in line to get your checked-in. As I said, I expected this, so didn't let it affect my mood which was happy! Maybe the bottle of champagne I split with my husband in line helped. Once onboard, easy to put bags into rooms as it was so late and head to the lido for some lunch. Cabin: 4124 Inside room, with French Doors that opened to a view of the lifeboat. Liked the room and we could see the water if we laid on the bed. As usual, our Steward was excellent. He was Thai and always attended our needs. Ice twice a day, towel animals daily, towels exchanged as needed. The bed was very firm and this was the first time my husband complained about his back hurting. Food: For the price we paid for the cruise, the food was fine. Had I paid suite prices, I might be disappointed. Ate at the Lido for breakfast, fresh fruit and yogurt. The chinese station for lunch was hit and miss. Sometimes way too salty. The lunch and dinner buffet food did not look to appetizing. We had anytime dining. I was impressed with the level of service we received for the most part. If you choose this option, realize that the dining room is still operating on an early/late dinner schedule and you will get the best service if you go at either the start of the early of late seating time. We were always seated immediately, either by ourselves or with others if we requested to share. You can also request to sit in the same servers section if you like the server to learn your preferences and get the personal touch you get at normal seating's. Food quality in the MDR was hit and miss. Somethings were good and others not up to par. You could always order something else, so we never left hungry. Again, for the value I felt we ate well. If you are expecting gourmet food, choose another cruise line. Camp Carnival: This was the first cruise where my son did not want to go to any of the activities. I think it had more to do with their not being a lot of kids on the ship and when he went, he had to stay in the 2 - 11 year old group and being 11 he thought he should be with the bigger kids. This was fine as we spent more time together as a family until he made friends with two other boys in the same boat at the pool and they became the three musketeers around the ship. Ship: The ship does show it's age in places, however the crew was constantly seen cleaning and repairing things. One exception was the mini golf course, there was torn areas everywhere. I expect since she is heading for drydock in January they are ignoring this area. No problem with chair hogs, we were always able to get a chair around the pools. The pools were nice a warm in Mexico where we needed it. The water slide was even heated when we left port. On the trip back, they made no attempt to heat the water and since they gave us one more sea day, I think they should have sucked up the cost and heated the water. Ports: There was Hurricane Hillary off the coast of Manazanillo, our first port, so they reversed our itinerary and cut a day out of Cabo. I don't think they needed to cut the second Cabo day as they had plenty of time to make it back to LA. When I asked at guest services, they said they couldn't make it back in time, however I find that laughable as they have this same ship making it back from Cabo to the same port in LA for several sailings in less than 1 1/2 days. Ummm, more time on the ship for us to give Carnival money??? Ensenada: Live in San Diego, so not real excited about this port. Went into town, shopped and then went to the fish market area and ate yummy cheap fish tacos at the little restaurants down there. Walked my son through the fish market. He liked that. Drank as many cheap beers as we could before getting back on the ship. Also had some tequilla to help kill anything we have gotten from the food vendors... Manzanillo: A great little slice of real working mexico. It is a large port town. We walked around town and took the local bus about 1/2 hour away to Playa Miramar, rented a table and chairs and ate and drank for the day. There was strong surf, maybe due to the Hurricane. Keep an eye on your little ones. Mine got caught in a rip and I had to swim out and guide him to go parallel to the shore until we could swim out of it. Puerta Vallarta: Negotiated for 60pp adult and 50pp for kid to go from the port to the tour office and up to the zip line in the open air bus thingy. They started at 75pp so negotiate. This was for the zip, tequilla tasting and mule ride. We couldn't do the extreme because my son was too young. The trip up to the zip line in the open air transport was scarry fun. It had been raining and we had to cross waterfalls onto the road, narrow roads, etc.... My son loved it. The zip line was great! We had a fantastic time. Booked through Canaopy Tours. Cabo: My favorite little beach town. Just took the water taxi to Medano and hung out at the Sand Bar restaurant. As usual, great good and even better drink prices. Walked around town to shop a bit and drank at the bar by the pier until the tenders were about to stop. Service: Overall service on this ship, from the Captains interaction, the Cruise Director and all the staff was superior to what we received back in May on the Splendor. While I like the layout of the Splendor better, more adult areas, larger adult only pool, outside movie theatre, etc... I think the staff on the Spirit was much better trained and way more friendly. Entertainment: Carnival, pleeeasssse change your shows. The only one I can sit through again is the New Orleans show. This was the best performance of it I had seen. The CD Stue was good. I saw most of the family comedian shows and they were good for the family. Only got to one adult show and thought the comedian was more a jerk than funny. Took my son to the juggler/comedy show and we agreed it was the worst show we sat through. Why would they hire a dower, non-funny juggler who dropped things??? Overall: We had a great family vacation for the money we paid. If you are expecting 5 star service at 3 star prices, don't take this cruise. We were expecting 3 star service and food so when we got better, we were happy. If you come with really high expectations you will be disappointed. If you know it is going to be the first time a ship Ports somewhere after repositioning, expect problems, that is just the way it is. If you dwell on the small problems, you will not like cruising. If the prices stay down, I look forward to Spiriting on the Spirit again this Spring down to Cabo. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
This was a 2nd wedding for both of us, and this time I wanted the dress and a 'real wedding'. Dinah at the Carnival Cruise Wedding Dept held my hand during the entire process. I read a review saying the Captain would marry a ... Read More
This was a 2nd wedding for both of us, and this time I wanted the dress and a 'real wedding'. Dinah at the Carnival Cruise Wedding Dept held my hand during the entire process. I read a review saying the Captain would marry a couple, but I was told he did not do that and we had to marry in Port and get a Seattle marriage license. No bigge. We received priority boarding with the officiant and her husband (Suzanne and Doug)escorting all 6 of us. Their expertise and experience was quite evident as everything came together seamlessly. The ceremony was lovely and we were encouraged to make changes to make it our own. The cake and champagne toast were in another area. It was interesting to walk through the ship and have people applaud and give us their congratulations! I would recommend Carnival's wedding department 200%. The Noveau Steakhouse is everything people say it is. If you sail on the Spirit, please do yourself a favor and go. It is probably the best RibEye I've ever had and certainly one of the nicest 5 star experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We flew into Seattle a few days early and rented a car and drove up to North Vancouver BC. If you have the chance to do this I highly recommend it. We went to Grouse Mountain, Whistler, Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon, etc. Embarkation-I ... Read More
We flew into Seattle a few days early and rented a car and drove up to North Vancouver BC. If you have the chance to do this I highly recommend it. We went to Grouse Mountain, Whistler, Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon, etc. Embarkation-I dropped off my wife and son then returned the rental car back, then caught Shuttle Express back to the cruise terminal. The lines through security then to check in before you board the ship were very long, but went pretty quickly. The workers at the terminal were all very pleasant. Once on board the ship we immediately went to our cabin. We stayed in 7152, balcony cabin. You absolutely MUST stay in a balcony cabin for the Alaskan cruise. If you take a caribbean it is not that big of a deal, but for Alaska it is a must. Our cabin was big enough for the 3 of us, very clean for the age of the ship, and the layout of it was well done. It had a lot of storage place for clothes, etc. But as stated in other reviews, make sure you bring a power cord strip or an adapter. There is only 1 plug for electronics. The ship itself was still in great shape. It was very well maintained and clean. There seemed to be too many wasted bars/clubs that could have been used for better entertainment. These bars were almost always empty, due to the Alaskan cruise being an older crowd. The dining room is huge, 2 stories, but nice enough. We are used to more dining rooms that are smaller, so this was a change. The wait service was average, but not spectacular. The food was better then I expected, but I went in with lower expectations, having cruised Disney previously. The food choices were plenty and most of it was well prepared, the right temperature, etc. Of course dinner took a little long for my liking but that seems to be all cruise dinners. The entertainment----This was quite limited. The shows were average, but once again compared to Disney productions this is not fair. The main show focusing on New Orleans was pretty good. It is just a dancing/singing type show and the dancers were very little clothing at times, so probably would not bring younger kids to it. Other then the shows the daily entertainment is pretty limited for adults. My son on the other hand had an absolute blast at Camp Carnival. If you do not know where it is located on the ship you will not accidently stumble onto it. It is tucked away forward on deck 5. But their activities and counselors were great. He wanted to go there constantly, which allowed for a lot of adult time. The cruise director did like to talk a lot rather it be on the PA or on talks in the lounges/shows. But he was entertaining and usually had something informative to say. There was a naturalist on board and she would come over the PA to alert us to wildlife off the boat and where it was. The ports-You have to book excursions!!! They are the best way to see the different ports. We lucked out and were redirected through Endicott Arm instead of Tracy Arm due to low clouds. We got about 200 yards from the glacier there and the cruise through the arm is unreal. The waterfalls and general scenery all through the Arm is amazing!! In skagway I highly recommend the train ride, it was breathtaking. You are in Skagway the longest, but there is less to do there. That is the only complaint, is you wish you had more times at the other 3 ports. In Juneau we did the Glacier Gardens/Brewery tour. The Glacier gardens were worth the price, very well maintained and pretty. Ketchikan was beautiful but we were only there 6 hours. My wife and her sister snorkeled hear (Yes snorkeled!!) and raved about it. You wear a thick wet suit and they said they were not cold. They saw very interesting marine wildlife and both said they would do it again. My son and I did a guided nature walk and found it very informative and pretty. We saw a ton of bald eagles, salmon, spotted owls...But no bears. In Victoria you are really cramped on time, only there for 5 hours. If you can squeeze in Butchardt Gardens I highly recommend it. We had been there before so we did not do that this time. But just walking around the inner harbor here at night is gorgeous. The overall service was very friendly and prompt. One of our traveling party got sick but was tended to very quickly and recovered within a day and felt fine. We were not sure if it was food or a 12 hour bug, but the medical staff did a wonderful job. The debarkation was very smooth. I really liked the way they did this, by grouping people by numbers and calling them on the PA to get off at different times. It made it less hectic. Overall rating for me was about a 8 out of 10. Due mainly to the scenery you are surrounded by the whole time. The positives were scenery, kids area, ports of call, food, service. The negatives were time in ports (too short) and at sea entertainment on the ship. For the money you pay I highly recommend though. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our families first cruise.Wanteed to do something different then the usual "Hawaii,Mexico Beach vacation.Myself DW two sons 15 and 12.Check in was smooth .We had VIP but really didnt make a difference.All passengers wait in ... Read More
This was our families first cruise.Wanteed to do something different then the usual "Hawaii,Mexico Beach vacation.Myself DW two sons 15 and 12.Check in was smooth .We had VIP but really didnt make a difference.All passengers wait in same area .The only real perk is that you get to board ship early. We got on board about 1030 and started to explore the ship.We ate in the lunch on the Lido deck and hung out until our cabin was ready.Oceanview suite was perfect size for us.I couldn't imagine the 4 of us in a regular size cabin.The only drawback was the TV CRT with one of those FRY'S $59 VCR.Oh well we weren't on the cruise to watch the tube. I'm sure some people will dis-agree but the entertainment on "Fun-Sea" days leaves alot to be desired.Hairy chest contest,Not so newlywed game ,Bartender contest....Umm lame.We checked the boys in their clubs Circle c and Club 02 .The younger son really enjoyed Circle C .The older son said Club 02 was mediocre. Like the previous reviewer had written Tracy Arm was diverted to Endicott Arm because of heavy fog .We were barely moving in Tracy Arm till Captain Vito made his decision.We have seen Glacier's in New Zealand and the ones in Alaska are just as impressive. Skagway- First port.We saw allot of people boarding the Scenic train and from talking to other passengers it's a must.Traveling with two teens I knew my boys would be bored out their minds after the first 10 minutes.We decided to do the Ziplining with Klondike Adventure camp.What a thrill!!! The guides although on the younger side were very professional with heavy emphasis on safety.Did the usual T-shirt and nick nack shopping went back to the ship and called it a day. Juneau-Had activity set for early morning so pre ordered breakfast through card at cabin door.Doesn't mention it on menu but you can get BLT'S if you write it in yumm!Excursion was Dog-Mushing tour .Was a real experience learning about the dogs and Iditarod .We got to ride on land sled with wheels that the dogs got going pretty fast.Got back to ship ate lunch and went on Mt.Roberts Tramway up to the top.Cant beat the location literally 100 feet from gang plank.Real nice scenery up top .Got some nice pictures .A lady had a telescope set up to an Eagle nesting which was real neat.Did the usual shopping thing back to the ship. Ketchikan-Lumberjack show was near the pier which was real entertaining.Creek street area real nice.Not much time this port it left at 100 pm. Victoria BC .Wish we could of spent more time in this town.Really nice.Got into port around 730 pm .$30 shuttle to downtown for 4 .Didn't have time to do much ,Waked around the marina and the shopping thing. That was one of the things that kind of bothered me on this cruise.After you do your itinerary the only thing that was left to do was shopping.Every other store in ports seemed to selling bling bling. Food-MDR for dinner every night .Food was excellent IMHO.Lido wasn't that bad as previous reviewer mentioned.Lot's of variety at lunch .Breakfast usual fare. Good luck getting a table in peak times however.We always found open seating in the covered pool area though when it was packed. Cruise director Stu-While he seemed like a nice guy.Just got a little tired of him doing the constant harping on excursions.I'm sure it made the people who barely afford the cruise feel good hearing him say how BORING each port is without doing an excursion. Just our own opinions .Not hating .It seems that a lot of people dig cruises but just not our cup of tea.We are landlubbers when it comes to vacations I guess. Glad we had a chance to experience it though.Best, Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
We began our stay in Seattle for 2 nights prior to the cruise. Doing the typical tourist thing of Pike Place Market and Space needle. Be sure to purchase some of the lovely flowers from the market for your cabin. We dinned at Sky City ... Read More
We began our stay in Seattle for 2 nights prior to the cruise. Doing the typical tourist thing of Pike Place Market and Space needle. Be sure to purchase some of the lovely flowers from the market for your cabin. We dinned at Sky City Restaurant for dinner the night prior to the cruise and the food was good, but the view was to die for! We used a local town car driver "Ozzy" he was waiting for us at the airport when we arrived, took us from the La Quinta on 8th ave and again was waiting for us when the ship docked to take us to the airport. Getting on the ship was different than any other Carnival terminal we had visited, but not very crowed at 11:45 - we were VIP and walked on after verifying all documents. We did not see a VIP waiting area and you do stand in line with everyone else while getting aboard. No problem for us, just seen the question asked on one of the forums. We walked around the ship and ate lunch at the Deli, our rooms were ready by 1:15. The Ocean Suite was nice, not as large as other Suite's on Carnival ships, but the balcony was large enough for 4 adults to sit very comfortably, with a couple of kids also. There were 4 chairs and a small table on the balcony. The queen size bed was hard, but our room attendent, George, put something on top of the mattress to soften it us some making it ok. Plenty of storage space, double closets in the sitting area off the bath and double closets by the bed. Bath room had double sinks and whirlpool tub. Nice and clean. In fact the entire ship was clean. The crew of the Spirit were very friendly and helpful. We did the main dining room the first two nights, but they were slow and the food on the Lido dining was good. Room service was also quick and good. Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord was the highlight of our cruise, I didn't want to leave the balcony. Between my DH and my camera we have 600+ photos of that day alone. The whales were always on the other side of the ship, no matter which side we were on LOL. We did see a whale, some seals, eagles, birds and other native wild life, but not like we had hope As for the clothing, I way over packed! We only wore light jackets once, we saw no rain except for a few sprinkles in the last port. No need for the bug spray for us. The weather could not have been nicer. All in all it was well worth the time spent planning and almost 2500 miles of air travel. I wish you fair winds and following sails...... Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
We sailed from Seattle on Tuesday June 14 for 7 days roundtrip to Alaska. We are a married couple, mid-50's. It was our first "cool-weather" cruise - past cruises have been Caribbean/Mexico/Hawaii. We drove from Vancouver ... Read More
We sailed from Seattle on Tuesday June 14 for 7 days roundtrip to Alaska. We are a married couple, mid-50's. It was our first "cool-weather" cruise - past cruises have been Caribbean/Mexico/Hawaii. We drove from Vancouver to Seattle on Monday, staying overnight at the Quality Inn downtown Seattle. They had a Stay & Cruise package which included an overnight stay, parking for up to 14 days, transfers to & from the port and full breakfast. Our room was clean and bug-free (very important!), and amazingly quiet considering its proximity to the traffic. We could even see the top of the Space Needle from our room. The hotel also had a shuttle to take us to/from Safeco Field for the Mariners game (they lost, sigh). We signed up for the 10 a.m. shuttle to the port, and were checked in and in the holding pen by 10:30. We waited about an hour, then boarded the Spirit, and headed for lunch at the Lido Buffet. We spent the afternoon wandering about, unpacking our suitcases, attending the muster drill, enjoying the first of the DOD's and watching sailaway. We had early dining, which was moved up from 6 pm to 5:30 - a bit too early imho. We were seated at a table for 4 and enjoyed getting to know our tablemates. This was our 3rd time on the Spirit, so we were already familiar with the layout, which is one of the easiest layouts we've ever experienced on a ship. We had Deck 7 extended balcony cabins on previous trips (Hawaii and Mexico), but this time we were in cabin 4177 - a mid-ship starboard regular balcony on Deck 4. We had won this cruise in the cruise raffle on our Feb 2011 Mexican cruise, and upgraded to a balcony cabin. We weren't sure how much we would use the balcony on an Alaska cruise, but we found that we used it quite a bit. The regular balcony was just fine for the 2 of us. Fortunately, none of our balcony neighbours were smokers, so we were able to enjoy the balcony and the fresh air. The Spirit had the retractable roof closed over the middle pool, so it was cozy and warm enough in there to swim, but we never felt the urge - not warm enough weather to entice us to swim. Most days, we went up to deck 10 and did 6-10 laps of walking (2-3 miles). Since we always eat too well on the ships, we also make a point of taking the stairs and working out in the gym a couple times per week. I also took advantage of a port day special in the spa to have a nice massage and facial. Day 2 was a sea day. We met our CC roll call mates at a Meet & Greet at the Fantail Bar area at 10:30 a.m., following by a Slot Pull. We had never done a slot pull competition before, but we had a lot of fun. As a group, we didn't make any money, but almost broke even. Some of the others continued on to a cabin crawl afterwards, but we opted out and went for lunch. Formal nights were Day 2 (Wednesday) and Day 6 (Ketchikan day). We missed the first Formal night, since that was also the NHL Game 7 Stanley Cup game. We had the choice of watching the game in the Champions Sports Bar (too smoky), the Fantail Bar (outdoor, too cold/windy) or on the TV in our stateroom. We chose the stateroom option, running up to the Lido Buffet to grab trays for dinner between periods. We ate dinner all other nights in the MDR. For breakfasts and lunches, we usually ate it in the Buffet. Favourite buffet foods included the Deli toasted pastrami on rye sandwiches, salads, goat cheese pizza, garlic bread at the pizzeria, and of course, the custom omelets for breakfast. All of the dinners in the MDR were good, but seemed to get slower each night. I'm not sure why, but by the end of the cruise, it seemed that we were waiting a long time to get dessert (after the waitstaff entertainment), and then felt rushed to eat it while the waiters were clearing tables and setting up for the next seating. The day cruising Tracy Arm Fjord was probably our favourite day. We spent most of the day on our balcony, watching the scenery and wildlife. It was warm, sheltered and sunny most of the day, so we were able to sit out in shorts and tshirts, clicking our cameras and using the binoculars. Living in a Vancouver suburb, we're used to mountains, snow, whales and bears, but we were still impressed with the beautiful scenery. The naturalist on board, Michelle, was excellent at pointing out wildlife and educating us on Alaska. In most ports, we just did walking tours and some shopping. Saw some beautiful sculptures and Alaskan artwork. We had researched each town ahead of time, so we knew where we wanted to head and had mapped out our own tours. In Ketchikan, there were 4 ships in port the same day, so the poor town was overrun with us tourists. While I'm sure that they are grateful for the tourist trade, they must also heave a huge sigh of relief in September when the ships leave and they have the town to themselves again.Debarkation was very smooth, and we were out of the terminal by 8:40 a.m. The concierge phoned Quality Inn on our behalf for the shuttle pick up, gave our name and was told "we'll be there soon", but they didn't show up until 10:15 a.m.—after our 3rd call. The hotel clearly has communication problems between the Customer Service phone reps and the shuttle department and they need to improve this area. The CS manager blamed us for not leaving a cel phone number, and could not understand that not all tourists have a cel phone usable in the States. Having our name, reservation and pre-arranged meeting spot should have been sufficient, but she just "didn't get it". She did insist on giving us a refund of the shuttle fare, but I would have rather had an acknowledgment of responsibility for the problem and an assurance that it would be addressed to help future travelers. It certainly ended our experience with QI on a bad note. If I ever use them again, I'll make sure to get the shuttle manager's phone number rather than the CS dept. After that, we took off in our car and headed north to home. The border crossing was light, so we were home by mid-afternoon. All in all, a very enjoyable cruise, lots of beautiful scenery, lots of nice people. Next time, though, we'll go back to warm weather cruises. I miss the palm trees, beaches and sunshine! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
We sailed the Carnival Spirit late June to early July 2011. Ports were Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria. The only port with rain was Ketchikan. The sailing party included my parents (in their 70's), my sister and his husband ... Read More
We sailed the Carnival Spirit late June to early July 2011. Ports were Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria. The only port with rain was Ketchikan. The sailing party included my parents (in their 70's), my sister and his husband (in their late 40's), and my wife. This was our first vacation leaving the children at home. The cruise was an absolute wonderful vacation. The limited cell phone service allowed us to check in on the kids (10 to 25 years old) occasionally but also allowed us to concentrate on relaxing and being stress free. Each couple would choose their own activities during the day and met for the evening meal in the dinning room. The time together in the evenings was by far the highlight for our family. Plenty of time to visit. The location of our table was perfect for conversation. The food was good, the ship was clean, and the staff eagerly served. The only negative was the price difference between booking excursions at the port versus booking on the ship. The cruise was a wonderful vacation for our family to spend time together. I wish I would have spent more time researching the different ports of call and possibly pre booked excursions directly prior to sailing or planned my days a bit more thoroughly prior to the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We just arrived home to Vancouver from Hawaii yesterday, and wanted to get this off while things are fresh in the mind. There was a foreshadow of this cruise not going smoothly when we never had our cabin number confirmed until we arrived ... Read More
We just arrived home to Vancouver from Hawaii yesterday, and wanted to get this off while things are fresh in the mind. There was a foreshadow of this cruise not going smoothly when we never had our cabin number confirmed until we arrived at the dock in Honolulu, where we lined up up for far too long in the heat we were not used to yet, to board the ship. Then, when we entered the dockside boarding shed, we began the ritual, which was the same at every port, of going thru three ID processing and shakedown processes. One to enter the dock or shed; another in the shed, similar to boarding an aircraft to check for forbidden items like weapons, and forgive us all, booze; then once more to board the ship, where illegal contraband was confiscated, mostly wine and spirits. This three time ID check was at every port, sometimes taking half an hour, and discouraged us from going ashore again in the afternoon. The process of confiscating wine and spirits really irked a lot of fellow passengers, who like us, had stuck a bottle in our bags for "in cabin" happy hours. This policy is stated by the other cruise lines, however was never enforced in past cruises. I have thought of challenging this rule, arguing that a hotel cannot stop a guest from taking a bottle in to their room as it is their temporary home, so should a cruise ship be. Nonetheless, we were caught, as were many others, one man who said he refused to buy a drink on board, and his usual bar bill was around $1,200 even with having a bottle in his cabin. Carnival was over anal with this policy. It is hard to believe that Holland America is part of this company. The differences are so obvious if one has travelled on both lines, or on others. The ship decor in some public areas like the Atrium, Pharoh's Lounge, and the Jungle Zone, is over the top, even ridiculous could be used to describe it. Cabins, restaurants, casino, library, gymnasium, public bars were very nice; and the food was very good, although waits in the dining room were sometimes long and dishes would arrive cooled off.Their scheduling was not on time, or published incorrectly. First evidence was the life boat drill, or Safety Lecture, which was scheduled for 1700 on the daily report; many of us were at our stations at 1700, without life jackets as advised, but it did not begin until 1730, and they had to drag the ship to get everyone to their stations. On previous cruises, life jackets were mandatory, and crisply uniformed staff inspected every individual to make sure it was worn correctly. The young man supervising our station could have been a passenger, no uniform at all, just a casual checkered shirt, might have been a seaman. For other scheduled functions, eg. a mini golf tournament for 1500 one day, no ship's staff showed up to organize it; poor form, showed their stuff. We enjoyed our time on board, this review is to show what we felt are differences between this experience and previous experience. There did not seem to be the joi de vive between the crew of other lines; spills, papers, and empty tins and bottle would sit too long before being picked up; the tenders/lifeboats seemed to be worse for wear; they needed a second gangway to reboard the ship more quickly.The purpose of this review is not to rip Carnival, only to point out out that they lack some of the niceties of other companies. Most things were great, but they need to take some lessons and refine themselves. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
One picture says more than thousand words: Here in this thread you can also see pictures:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1408567We made many of our very best experiences:cabin - space space space - we could have baggage for ... Read More
One picture says more than thousand words: Here in this thread you can also see pictures:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1408567We made many of our very best experiences:cabin - space space space - we could have baggage for a world voyage with us and still would have space in our closetsrates - I think with the rate we payed we could only expect "pure transportation" and we got more than we expecteddining - I did not expect that it was much better than RCI or NCL (our favorite line): I had every day a changing lunch menu. The quality and quantity of food was much more higher. It was not so far away from the standard of HAL, Princess or Celebrity. Nouveau Steakhouse was an outstanding experience we made twice. And the Chef's Table was something like heaven on earth or better on water...entertainment - 12 dancers and 4 singers for the production shows - the best singers and dancers I experienced on many many cruises... but too loud.enrichment - total surprising: a naturalist who introduced Hawai'i like we normally would only expect on HAL.value for money - the best we got for this little money we payedThe bad:service - it was hard to find nice and attentive crew members who give you a service like we know from NCL. We mostly (with few exceptions) missed the cordiality we know from NCL or HAL. You could walk from the bow to the stern and say good morning and get no response - neither from anyone from housekeeping nor from the ship's management (incl. Captain and Hotel Director). You were persona non grata and totally ignored after complaint. Hotel Director was only interested to put himself in the focus and not interested why you as guest does not feel comfortable. Panum et circenses: Bread and Games - both were outstanding to ignore lack of service.Many many times you have to wait in the restaurant because all waiters were just standing in the galley and wait... you can only see that there is a lack of organisation if you book the Chef's Table and you are surprised why so many waiters are always in the galley and you were surprised that you had no chance to get a 2nd cup of coffee because none of the waiters were around.As the Hotel Director said: my expections as experienced cruisers were too high and they were still "excersing" after one year on flexible dining:so they fill up all tables of one station before they start the servicewhile other escort you to different stations to make sure that you get as long as possible a full attentive serviceYou got breakfast beverages (like hot tea and juices) at the end fo the breakfast and only on request (if you caught someone whom you can tell):when I told the Hotel Director and Guest Relation Manager if I should go to the coffee bar to buy a cup of tea before going to the Main Dining Room they just told: you do not need to buy: you can get a free cup of tea from the La Playa Grill and take it to the Empire Restaurant.The best: the closed all restaurants before all guests had a chance to have a full meal on day of embarkation and you should just "forget" it.The spa was a total desaster: steam bath no tube for cold water to clean and freshen up seats. Sauna you cannot add hot water to get steam: not hot enough and all water flows directly to the ground. 50% of machines in gym out of order or did not work. Even you go on open deck: they close open decks for cleaning at typical times people are doing their rounds. Totally not service orientated.But to be honest: it was one of the best "transportation incl. hotel" you can have for Hawai'i and if you can ignore service you will have your greatest experience on water and a perfect way to paradise.We did not regret to be on this cruise and would go Carnival again. But to be the largest cruise company you as guest must learn that they are not interested very much to satisfy you: you take it as it or you leave it. And Captain and Hotel Director will do their best that you feel as uncomfortable as possible that you do not return again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
My fiance and I did the Honolulu to Vancouver cruise on the Carnival Spirit April 2011. This was my second cruise and his first cruise.We flew into Honolulu a couple days early and stayed at the Ohana Waikiki West for 2 nights prior to ... Read More
My fiance and I did the Honolulu to Vancouver cruise on the Carnival Spirit April 2011. This was my second cruise and his first cruise.We flew into Honolulu a couple days early and stayed at the Ohana Waikiki West for 2 nights prior to boarding the Spirit on April 22/11. We had the distinction of being on the 18th floor with an ocean view, however, the elevator only goes to the 17th floor and the room was very small and quite tired looking. But for the price we paid and the fact we were only there a couple nights it wasn't a big deal, plus hey you have to sacrifice something for the ocean view :o)Boarding of the ship flowed very well and we were onboard in no time and out luggage arrived very quickly also, only a couple of hours.The size of the ship was nice as it was very easy to find your way around. It was very clean and tidy.Food was excellent, wasn't overly impressed with the deli but it wasn't bad just not quite what I'd anticipated I guess after reading others rave reviews, but then everyone has different tastes. The fruit at breakfast was always great especially the pink grapefruit and the salad at lunch was marvelous as well. We did our time dining and only had to wait twice and then only for 20 mins max, and they usually seated us in the same sort of area for most of the cruise so we had the same wait staff most of the time. We also did one of the special order Non-vegetarian Indian Meals in the MDR and it was excellent. I also now have to go on a 12 step program for the chocolate melting cake habit I picked up while on board! lol.Our room stewart Conrado, was absolutely marvelous. Once he realized we liked to have a fair bit of ice in our room it was pretty much never out during the rest of the trip. He was always very pleasant and quick to smile and greet you in the halls and did a great job on our room.Our one complaint was the entertaintment. Cruise director Stu reminded us of a used car salesman and he never once came over the PA or stepped up to the mic without trying to flog you something. The cruise I had been on previously had so much to do you wanted to be in 3 places at once. That definitely didn't happen on this cruise, and considering you have 5 whole days at sea one would anticipate there lots planned to do..... There was Bingo twice a day or more, which you pay for, there was the Casino, which you pay for, there was trivia but on the days at sea it's progressive so if you aren't aware of that at the start and you go on the second day...you're kinda outta luck. They played a game show type thing a couple evenings which was entertaining. They had karaoke of course, and ballroom dancing lessons, a "talent show" and a couple shows with their dancers and singers, who were quite good. There were a few stand up comedians and 2 juggler/comedians. There just didn't seem to be much going on during the days. The "Fun Ship" was a bit lacking in the fun department. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This was our 7th cruise with Carnival and our most negatively eventful. It started with the embarkation process. All some 2300 passengers had to be bussed from San Diego and Los Angeles to Ensenda Mexico to embark on the Spirit. We ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise with Carnival and our most negatively eventful. It started with the embarkation process. All some 2300 passengers had to be bussed from San Diego and Los Angeles to Ensenda Mexico to embark on the Spirit. We booked the transfer from the San Diego Airport to the cruise port with Carnival. At the airport we were greeted by a Carnival employee who rounded us up and had us wait in a holding area until both our luggage transportation to Mexico and our bus to the terminal arrived. We were early and would be on the first bus from the airport to the terminal, this was both good and bad. At 11:00 a.m. the Carnival employee took us outside to drop off our luggage and meet our bus. After about almost an hour waiting in the sun for the baggage transport I noticed a Uhaul van circling the airport three times. Each time staring at us but never stopping. I went to the Carnival employee and asked if the Uhaul is what we were waiting for and he stated yes. The next time the van came around he hailed them and then they went around one more time and stopped by us. Two males got out and proceeded to put our luggage in the van. We then finally boarded the bus to the terminal. Once in the terminal they must of thought we were going to Alaska as the terminal was icy cold. I was just a little bit sensitive as I was getting over Pneumonia one week earlier. The check in went well but we had to wait three hours for the buses to arrive. First you should know that the Spirit was so close to us there that you could have hit it with a rock. But because of the Jones Act they could not board you or your luggage there. So we went down the street to a restaurant for lunch. We could see the Spirit leave San Diego from there at around 12:00, of course totally empty except food, drink and the crew.The trip to Mexico in an also cold bus, took about 2.5 hours plus about 1.5 hours at the ship waiting for Mexico Customs. The trip there was escorted by Mexican Police for our safety the roads were mostly narrow and windy. When we got to Ensenada and got our it was very cold and extremely windy. We were greeted there by photographers from the ship and some ship personnel. Most people were so cold in the windy conditions, and from the bus, that they bypassed the photo-op. My wife opted out also, I think that at this stage she was so angry that if she got close enough she would have punched them.For future travelers, possibly ourselves, I would recommend spending a few more bucks and board in Hawaii, definitely not in Ensenada as both the trip and the management of it were deplorable. Oh I almost forgot, one bus from the airport tried to go directly to Mexico and was stopped around the border and was sent back to San Diego to the cruise terminal. The ship gave them a token on ship voucher for their "Trouble". Very tacky of Carnival in their opinion.Now the trip itself. Besides my pneumonia coming back for the first 5 days at sea our beds were terrible. We sailed on the Spirit to Acapulco about 5 years ago and they were exceptional. Talked to our steward and he said all the beds were the same, bad! One neighbor heard our conversation and came out of his room and complained of his bed also. When we came back the the room later the bed seemed more flat than before. Laid on it and it was even harder and more lumpy. Checked under the mattress and saw that they had used towels to try to fix the problem. Did not work!On board the ship was as we expected it to be. Clean with a courteous staff from the top down. Service was good, food was acceptable with too much fish for me, I guess because we were going to Hawaii they decided to shift the menu to the fish side.Shows seem to never change. They seem to think that everyone wants to see a Vegas type show from the forties and fifties. They need to get more current, at least get into the sixties and seventies. I love cruising with Carnival but on this our 7the cruise with them it has gotten very old. Also same theory here, older is better. I am 63 and have lost my parents but if they were alive the would also said to get your shows up to date, be more creative.Hawaii. Took excursions (Roberts Tours) at each port. Lots and lots of volcanoes. Some tours were very interesting and some not so much. Scenery and history was fantastic. Took over 1000 picture which I have since edited down to just about 400. Best of course was Honolulu. Just was not enough time there. Only 1.5 days to see so much. Went to the Polynesian Cultural Center and it was fantastic. Food great, show at night fantastic. Problem it consumed an entire day. Started at 9:O a.m. and got back to the ship at 10:30 p.m. The remaining half day before going home we went on the early Carnival tour airport transfer. Saw the war memorial at the "Punch Bowl", Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial with the USS Missouri in the background. Biggest mistake was not planning a longer visit in Honolulu. At the minimum two days either before boarding or disembarking the ship there. In summary we consider this Hawaiian Cruise a sampler only. You can find what you like and come back again and stay however long you choose. We plan no trips on the Spirit until the beds are fixed. Yes they were that Bad! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We are a family of 4 with children ages 7 and 8. We had intended to use the child care activities only a few times during the cruise as we do most everything with our children as it was a family vacation. WE WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED WITH ... Read More
We are a family of 4 with children ages 7 and 8. We had intended to use the child care activities only a few times during the cruise as we do most everything with our children as it was a family vacation. WE WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED WITH THE PROGRAMS......JUST expected them to accommodate the schedules of children not partying adults!!!! We hoped to attend an evening show, spend some time as a couple and I had hoped to head to the spa. We were NOT unhappy with this cruise, just making you aware of your limitations if you do take younger children that can not be left alone in a cabin. Time Schedules would be my biggest issue. Children in K-3rd grade typically go to bed between 7:30-9pm. (few parent alter this by more than an hour even on vacation!!) The majority of families were met were in the ships timezone while ours were one hour later. Our children feel asleep at 7pm during dinner at the dinner table and one was carried to the cabin. No child care in the cabin available till 10pm so we had to stay in the cabin from about 7 till the next day. This made it impossible for us to go to any shows from 8-10 pm as again.....NO CHILD CARE till 10pm. In addition to that they had a disco for 6-8 year old children from 10PM to 1AM. SERIOUSLY!!!!???? I know of no parent who would allow their children up that late and even if they did, the child would be asleep after an active day swimming or playing on their vacations. (again....who are we accommodating here....parents or children) My other question would be: Why is there no "down time" My kids go to school from 7:50-2:10 and are obviously scheduled during that time. They are NOT scheduled from then till dinner. The ship had no "down time" for kids to watch a movie, play a board game, or just play with dolls/trucks etc. EVERY minute had an activity and that activity either changed on the hour or 1/2 hour. My 8 year old boy went one time and never went back. He just wanted to relax, not be "organized" My 7 year old girl went three times for arts and crafts and dance. All three times there were only 6-8 kids at any given time. These kids are on a vacation after all and as much as scheduling children is SUPER.........NOT ALL DAY!!! (200 kids total on the ship we were told)We all had a fabulous time on the cruise. I would just like to advise people not to expect any child care and no staff available to watch your child till 10pm. YES.....I did express my concern to the child care staff and got no response. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We sailed on the Feb 11-20, Mexican Riviera itinerary. It was our 2nd time on the Spirit, both times on Verandah Deck 7, extended balcony, midship. Our goal for the cruise was simple relaxation, and this was certainly achieved. The weather ... Read More
We sailed on the Feb 11-20, Mexican Riviera itinerary. It was our 2nd time on the Spirit, both times on Verandah Deck 7, extended balcony, midship. Our goal for the cruise was simple relaxation, and this was certainly achieved. The weather was terrific, sunny and warm for all days except for the morning in Ensenada, when it rained. We flew down to San Diego a couple of days early, and stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and it was nice to watch the ship dock at the cruise pier across the street. We wandered around the area on the first day, and went to the SD zoo on the Thursday. That night, we also met up with some of our fellow passengers at Anthony's Fish Grotto for an excellent seafood dinner. On Friday morning, we walked to the pier around 11, and were on the ship by about noon. Our port excursions were pretty low-key. In PV, I had booked a massage online ahead of time at Venus Sunshine spa downtown ($40 for 75 minutes). It was a very nice relaxing massage. Afterwards, we wandered along the Malecon, saw the sculptures, visited the cathedral, and caught the local bus (definitely an experience) back to the ship. In Mazatlan, we stayed on the ship and enjoyed a very uncrowded Lido deck and pools. In Cabo, we had booked the ship's Cabo Semi-submersible (yellow submarine) excursion. It was OK, but didn't see as many fish as I had hoped. In La Paz and Ensenada, we ventured off the ship as far as the terminal flea markets, but otherwise, just relaxed on the ship. We did do laps on the Sun Deck as many mornings as possible, and worked out in the gym a few times too. I also enjoyed doing a yoga program (on my ipod) in the early mornings on our balcony - great way to watch coming in to port or just enjoy the scenery on sea days. On the last sea day, we did the Behind the Fun tour - a bit pricey at $95pp, but we thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was well worth it to do it once. Our cabin steward and waiters were excellent. Our steward kept our ice bucket full every day, and had no problems with us emptying the mini-fridge for our own use, and replacing the contents at the end of the cruise. Our waiters were very friendly, took time to chat, and always remembered our favourite breads and coffee/tea. We had early seating in the MDR, and were assigned to a table for 4. However, our tablemates never showed. That was a little disappointing, since we like to chat with other cruisers at dinner. On the 3rd night, a couple at a table for 2 on the other side of the divider asked if they could join us, since they also had asked for a larger table. We shared a table for the rest of the cruise and got along very well. I had expected that the Maitre'D might have suggested such a rearrangement, but he never did. The food was excellent, with a lot of variety and nice-sized portions. All in all, a nice, relaxing cruise with great food, service and weather. What more could you ask for? As an added bonus, on the last night, we won the free cruise raffle, so now we're busy planning our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
9 Days Sailing Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, La Paz, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada Cabin #8234 Handicapped Cabin. My Wife Has MS and Uses a Scooter She has good days and bad days and her scooter is used when alot of walking has to be ... Read More
9 Days Sailing Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, La Paz, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada Cabin #8234 Handicapped Cabin. My Wife Has MS and Uses a Scooter She has good days and bad days and her scooter is used when alot of walking has to be done...she is normally able to walk around the cabin or out to the elevator and to the dining room our cabin is Aft so if she wants to go to the Showroom she would use the scooter.. We Live about one hour from San Diego I left home at 12:30 and was in my Cabin before 2:00 I dropped off my Luggage and my DW and parked across the street There was nobody in line so we zipped right through the check in process Parking is $15 per day. The Cabin we booked has a Huge Balcony with Ramps, and is Shaped different then most rooms so I will add pictures so you can see it, I had to Beds split to two Twins but you can keep it as a queen.. It is more square Cabin and has a bigger Bathroom ...Shower has no lip so water goes everywhere and you have to use towels to direct the water to the Drains kind of a pain but I understand why it is that way....of course it has railing everywhere The room itself has a doorbell and a light that flashes when you ring it. Our Room Stewart was Jorge he did a Good Job ...I tipped him $20 up front for Ice but I had to call a few times to room service to have my Ice Chest filled( collapsible one I brought with) I was still happy with him I only saw him a few times and always cleaned well so he received $40 at the end as well and yes I left my Auto tips as well...we only ordered Room Service twice it was there on time and very good.. We had issues with Noise in our room the Cabin is on deck 8 but it is under the Buffet every morning starting at about 4:30am we would be woke up with Chair scrapping this would last until about 6am even though we complained it continued we were also across the hall and next door to storage areas and we heard doors opening and closing all night Ok I know noise happens on ship but this was pretty bad...it kind of seemed like once we complained it got worst like it was deliberate.... well my DW complained enough were they gave us a 20% rebate plus a 15% discount of future Cruise...I was not really that upset but my DW was she needs her sleep to keep active so there was a few days were she did not go out of the cabin much to catch up on her sleep...plus we both ended up in bed early almost every night because we were tired and did not get much good Quality sleep. This is Our 4th Carnival Cruise 5th overall and 2nd time on the Spirit. Over the past few years everyone has noticed a decline in Service this Cruise was no exception to that...I had to ask every night at Dinner for the Cocktail server one night 4 times....our Waiter Santos did a outstanding Job and you could tell he was hustling with not alot of time to talk to us... we ate Breakfast a few times in the Dining Room ..Service always good and we ate Breakfast a few times in the Buffet Omelets were good....I did not have a bad meal while on-board on Valentine's day we ate in the Nouveau Steakhouse It was a good meal I had the Surf and Turf and wanted more...I did not feel full when I left so I was disappointed with that ...My DW'S Cousin ordered the 24oz Porterhouse that looked good and he was full.. Next time I will order that.. I ate once at the La playa Grill...the burger was good...and I had a few Pastrami on Ryes from the Deli....I am craving them as I type this...very good... Stuart Dunn was Our CD he was all over the Place and did a great Job...only issue was the notices over the loud speaker way too many and they just got lost...when there was one that I needed to know I just ignored it...when we left Cabo we changed time back to Pacific time I Understand that Stuart made A announcement but I did not here it and I showed up to the behind the scenes tour one hour early I went back to check the fun times and it was not even posted there....*shrug* o' well I got another hour to read my book on the Balcony. The Behind the Scene tour was great A lot of walking and only a 10 minute break... it lasted from 9:30 to 1:15 but I learned a lot about the Ship and got to meet and talk to a lot of staff including the chef, chief engineer and the Captain Vito Giacalone who by the way is a pretty funny guy. it was worth the $95 to do but only once...I will pass on that next time...it is one of those been there seen it things...the group was not full either only 14 booked for each of the 2 tours ... Our Port Days were all pretty close to the same thing just a different city ...There was a group of 17 of us either 9 or 11 went with us ...we walked off the Ship and rented a Driver and a Van everyday (with exception to La Paz where we just got off took the bus into town and had lunch...then back to the boat)The cost was $20 or $25 add $5 pp for tip and we drove around the City Had lunch shopped enjoyed the City and Company of each other...We did the same things that Carnival offered but a lot cheaper We did the Malecon, Rain forest, and tequila factory in Puerto Vallarta, Which is basically the City & Tropical jungle escape offered through Carnival for $40 pp for 3 hours.. we spent 5 hours for $25 each there...our tour guide was Jessica from the company Professional tour guide service .. she was Charming and spoke perfect English and kept us Entertained the whole time...and yes she had Beer water and sodas in the van for us to enjoy...you can repeat in the other ports.... By the way I had my Baileys confiscated and returned the last night. Overall It was a good Cruise not A great one ...The staff was Friendly and helpful as usual.. better than normal food ..as Much as I love Cruising I think my next few Vacations are going to be land based Vacations...my son lives in Florida so I plan on visiting him there later this year and I think I will do a all inclusive next year in Puerto Vallarta.... Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
My husband & I decided to do a Mexican cruise as an add on to our trip to Las Vegas for our son's wedding in February. We were originally booked on the Splendour but were changed at the last minute due to that ships much ... Read More
My husband & I decided to do a Mexican cruise as an add on to our trip to Las Vegas for our son's wedding in February. We were originally booked on the Splendour but were changed at the last minute due to that ships much publicised problems.This cruise gave us an extra couple of days plus an extra two ports, so we were excited to get started.Our cruise departed Friday 11th February and returned to San Diego on Sunday 20th February 2011.We had pre-arranged the pick-up from San Diego airport with Carnival, and this ran very smoothly even though our flight from Las Vegas landed a little late. The bus ride to the cruise terminal was quick and we even had a short, informative sightseeing commentary from the driver!This also meant that our luggage was automatically checked in for us...an added bonus! The actual embarkation was quick & painless too, with only a 30 minute or so wait before we were processed.Our first impressions of the Spirit was that the decor was definitely different from ships we had sailed on in Australia or New Zealand. It had a much darker feel and a lot of mixed themes throughout the ship but the Atrium was certainly impressive. After a little exploring, we found our cabin and we were pleasantly surprised. This was the first time we had booked a balcony cabin & it was the perfect cruise, weather wise, to have one! The cabin itself had plenty of storage space, and the seating area was handy. The bathroom had lots of shelf space too so you could actually unpack the bits & pieces you need. The cabin staff introduced themselves & explained the procedures. All the crew we came in contact with were courteous, helpful & hard-working and always had a smile on their faces!We ate all our dinners in the formal restaurant. We were seated at a table for four but we never had any dinner companions!! This was slightly disappointing as part of the fun of cruising is meeting new friends ( we had been used to tables with ten diners on other cruises we'd been on )The waiters went out of their way with magic tricks and extra chat to make us feel welcome. A nice touch that this ship did, was that after each dinner session, the wait staff sang or danced for the guests. The food was always delicious & our only complaint would have been for a few more choices on the menu. We ate breakfast in the buffet & lunch either on the lido deck or in the buffet. It was never too difficult finding a table and the quality & selection were very good.The entertainment offered on this ship was probably the best we had had on any cruise. Not only the on board entertainers who were exceptionally slick & professional, but also the hypnotist, magician, comedy acts etc....definitely something for everyone! Our only surprise was how few people actually took advantage of these shows....getting a seat, even at the last minute was never a problem.There was a wide variety of other activities during both the day & evening. Things like karaoke or trivia often overlapped with set meal sittings, so this was sometimes a nuisance but you could always find an alternative.This ship seemed to have an obssession with photo opportunities...not just available on formal nights & arrival in ports! Photographers were everywhere , every night ...not too pushy but by the end of the cruise it became a little tedious trying to politely avoid them! None the less, we purchased our fair share, so I guess they did their job well!!We had never been to Mexico before, so we decided to book our shore tours through Carnival. We actually found these tours to be quite affordable compared to ones we had booked through other cruise lines. All of the tours turned out to be roughly what we had expected after attending the shore tour talk. In Puerto Vallarta we did the city & jungle tour, in Mazatlan the city tour which included the cliff divers,in La Paz the artisans tour, in Cabo the whale watching tour and in Ensenada the blowhole tour. Our favourite would have been the whales...perfect weather in a perfect spot & lots of sightings!! We also did the behind-the-scenes tour on board the ship.This tour wasn't cheap but was a well worth the expense. We had never seen a tour like this offered before...engine control room, galley, crew areas, food & beverage storage areas, the bridge and meet & greet with the captain & head chef, plus some little gifts & photos...definitely a morning to remember!Disembarkation , even with the non-citizen portion, was the smoothest we'd ever experienced. We were off the ship, with all our luggage by about 9am & the holiday was only another wonderful memory!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I booked this cruise for the itinerary. I had read and heard varying reports about Carnival and, as our only other cruise had been on Holland America, I wasn't sure how much I would like it. However I was pleasantly surprised. The ... Read More
I booked this cruise for the itinerary. I had read and heard varying reports about Carnival and, as our only other cruise had been on Holland America, I wasn't sure how much I would like it. However I was pleasantly surprised. The ship's dEcor wasn't really to my taste and much of it certainly looked like 'Las Vegas on steroids'. The glass elevators in the atrium were fun but I didn't much like the dark interiors of the public rooms on the lower decks and wished the seating looked more out to sea. But the public areas were kept clean and in good order. But I was very pleased with my cabin. I had a port side 7A balcony with an obstructed view over the top of the lifeboats but it was between two lifeboats and was very good value. And I enjoyed sitting out watching the boats being launched to serve as tenders at Kona. However, a tip for this itinerary - a starboard cabin would have been better as twice the port side was docked right up against the tall warehouses at the commercial ports so sitting out on the balcony wasn't that great. I did see inside an obstructed view 5A cabin with full-length windows but no balcony, again between two lifeboats, and was impressed by how light and airy it was. Next time, I'd be happy to settle for one of those. The cabin was spacious with plenty of storage and well laid out. The bathroom was good with, again, plenty of storage and I preferred having just a shower rather than climbing in and out of a small bathtub to have a shower. The bed was rather too firm for me so (having read up on the Carnivals boards) I immediately asked the steward for a foam topper pad which made all the difference. My steward, Lawrence, was excellent. He was always very pleasant, kept the cabin very clean and while I can live without towel animals, some of them were very cute. I really appreciated having a laundry available but putting a proper cover on the ironing board would have been a help and it was somewhat disappointing to find that both machines in the laundry on my deck had broken before the end of cruise. On the whole, service in board was very good with staff always very polite and friendly. The exception was on the Lido deck where tables were often left uncleared for quite a while and cleaning of the tables seemed somewhat perfunctory. With the ever present risk of norovirus, I expected higher standards of hygiene. There seemed to be too few staff looking after the tables and too many bar servers trying to sell drinks. This was the most irritating part of the cruise. On one occasion, on the Fantail deck, I was asked if I wanted to buy a drink 5 times in 15 minutes yet no one came to take away the dirty dishes beside me. Carnival need to stop this pressuring of their customers to buy drinks as I wasn't the only person who found it very annoying. Food on the Lido was reasonable with the Taste of Nations often offering good choices but the pizza was disappointing - too doughy and not enough topping. Breakfast offerings on the Lido were OK but I was dismayed to find one morning that many of the usual selections had already been removed even though breakfast service still had more half an hour to go. I preferred having breakfast in the dining room (but for some reason that wasn't available on port days) or a continental breakfast in my cabin from room service which was always prompt. The smoked salmon and bagel was very generous and the melon selection always nicely presented. One service I really liked was the complimentary soft serve icecream always available and the ice cream parlor open every afternoon on sea days. But why wasn't it offered on port days? Many guests were back on board by later in the afternoon and in the hot weather it would have been very welcome. If this is a cost cutting measure, then it's one that Carnival should reconsider. I had anytime dining and never had to wait for a table. If it looked like there would be a wait, I would offer to share a table and was always taken to one immediately. On one occasion, I was asked to share but feeling tired, I just wanted a quick dinner so asked for a table to myself and was given one right away. The food in the dining room was very good and mostly excellent! And I'm quite picky and like really good food. Service was good AND pleasant. I loved the five sea days on this cruise. The weather was mostly very good and people were out swimming and sunbathing from the start of the cruise. The three pools were great and, even on the warmest days, there were always sun loungers available. There were quite a lot of activities going on. I did enjoy the trivia (and won two of the famous 'ship on a stick') and generally enjoyed watching some of the games and competitions taking place. And the naturalist talks were very interesting and it was good to be able to watch them in the comfort of your cabin. I only went to a couple of shows. The hypnotist wasn't that interesting and a comedian was so lame that I left after 10 minutes. Fortunately there weren't nearly as many announcements from the cruise director as I'd feared and the daily update from the captain on sea days were fun! Though, there was certainly a push to sell spa treatments, excursions etc. I only purchased two ship's excursions - one to the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens at Hilo which was very good and included a pleasant drive passing some sights on the way. The other was the Maui Tropical Plantation and Iao Needle. The plantation had lovely gardens and there was a craft market next door which had local crafts at excellent prices. I had expected to see more private tour operators at the ports but they seemed to be kept out by the strict security. In fact, the security seemed rather excessive and no one could understand why our belongings had to be x-rayed twice every time we re-boarded. In the port areas only a couple of taxis seemed to be allowed into the port area at any time. At Kona, I just walked around and saw the sights on my own. At Kauai, I went over to the taxi area and luckily met up with 5 others looking to hire a taxi. We paid $40 each for a 4 hour tour to the Waimea Canyon and some other sights. It was better value and much more enjoyable than a bus tour. On Maui, I'd done my research and printed the timetable for the public bus from the shopping centre to Lahaina for a dollar. There was a big queue in the sun for the free shuttle to the shopping centre so some of us got together and shared a taxi. Lahaina was delightful and the public bus is a great way to get about on Maui. I was very disappointed that the ship didn't go past the lava flow on the Big Island at night. I had been looking forward to it as a highlight of the cruise and it was even more disappointing to hear that the return cruise to the States was going past the lava flow. No reason was given for the change of itinerary. In conclusion, I still prefer Holland America but this cruise was very enjoyable and Carnival gave good value for the price I paid at the early saver rate. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
This was our first cruise. I traveled with my husband, and our one year and three year old sons. We were part of a large wedding party of I think over 130 people. Embarkation- Was very easy for us, since we were allowed to board ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I traveled with my husband, and our one year and three year old sons. We were part of a large wedding party of I think over 130 people. Embarkation- Was very easy for us, since we were allowed to board first due to the wedding. We got to the port around 10 am and did not have to stand in line with our luggage for very long. They were still getting the previous cruisers off of the ship, but we were soon able to give our bags to the porters and sit down. Once on-board we gathered outside of the Pharaoh's Lounge, sat and talked while waiting for the wedding to start. Some went up to the Lido Deck to grab a quick bite to eat. Wedding- Was absolutely beautiful. Short, but sweet. Afterwards we headed downstairs to the lounge for an hour and a half reception. The food and drinks that they served were great. The only thing I wasn't very crazy about was the wedding cake, but there sure was lots of it. My only complaint was that there wasn't a lot of room for a party of that size to do much dancing. The couple had their own photographer who took TONS of pictures. The posed pictures that they took up on the upper deck were gorgeous. We were able to go to our room before 3 pm and all of our luggage was there waiting on us. I did have other members of my family who had to wait on theirs for a few more hours though. Make sure you carry-on anything you're gonna need that first afternoon. The muster drill was kind of a pain because both my children and we ourselves were already exhausted and in need of a nap, but I understand that it is a necessary thing and it did not last long at all. Food- We ate in the Empire Dining Room, early seating every night. Our servers were Eveline and Santiago. They were wonderful. Eveline always knew our names, remembered how we liked our steaks cooked, and both of them were great with our kids, like bringing them extra bread and remembering to bring milk at the end of our meal for the baby. Let me tell you, they definitely earned their tips by putting up with my messy, often moody children! The maitre d' (I can't remember her name) to me was kind of annoying. She would say the same thing every night. "Ellllloooooooo! Eeeeeeet's cho-time." Some people found it amusing, I just found it annoying. I thought the food was great. I tried many things that I would never dream of enjoying and there were very few that I did not like. I even discovered that I looove escargot. I did try a couple different desserts like the creme brulee and baked alaska, but none of them measured up to the chocolate melting cake. Nouveau Steakhouse- My husband and I went by ourselves for a date and it was well worth it. I would recommend trying to get reservations at sunset because I bet it would be absolutely gorgeous to watch from up there. The service was wonderful and the food was amazing. My husband, who is a big eater, couldn't even finish his steak. The only thing I was disappointed in was the dessert surprisingly. I tried the chocolate sampler and it just wasn't for me. The cheesecake looked amazing though. You will definitely leave feeling full. Camp Carnival- The only major complaint I have about this cruise is the childcare. The only time my son went was on the first day at sea for 2-3 hours. First off, the room seems tiny for the amount of little ones and it is not exactly in a convenient location. The second day that I attempted to take him, my husband and I were getting off the boat to explore Cabo San Lucas. The lady asked me if we were getting off the boat and I told her yes, but that my mother was not and that I would give her the ship issued cell phone in case of an emergency. She asked if my mother would be picking him up for lunch and I told her no, because my mother was keeping my one year old baby (they only provide childcare for ages 2 and up) she is elderly and I did not feel that she could handle both of them for mealtime. She then proceeded to ask me if he would sit still for an hour for lunchtime. I told her I doubted it, as he was just under 3 years old at the time. I'm sure some children could, but my very energetic little boy just isn't going to do that. She informed me that if he did not sit still for an hour that he would not be allowed to come back. She was kind of rude about it and I was very put off. I then proceeded back to my room and in the matter of time it took for me to get from the 5th floor to the 8th floor she was calling me on the cell phone telling me that I needed to come back because he was crying and wouldn't let her wipe his nose. What kind of daycare is this??? Seriously? I went back and told her to just forget it, that I would take him with us and that was the last time I attempted to take him. It made it difficult for my husband to have any quiet time or to participate in many activities. I know that some of the older children and teens in my family enjoyed going, but I was very disappointed. Ports- We were in Cabo San Lucas for two days and Ensenada. Cabo was beautiful. I only wish that I had taken more advantage of booking excursions. My son was not tall enough to swim with the dolphins, which was a little pricey when you take into account how much they charge you for pictures or video. The first day we just walked around, which was a bad idea with a cranky, tired 2 year old. We were all worn out by noon. It is also kind of a pain to have to constantly tell people who are trying to sell you things "No" time after time after time. The second day we took a taxi to the beach. Let me tell you, I was afraid for our lives. The drivers there are crazy! The beach was great, but again, too many vendors. In Ensenada we went to La Bufadora, which was a 30 minute drive in a bus, then we felt kind of rushed with only an hour and a half there to shop, eat, and see the blowhole. I would have liked more time. Our room steward was named Jorge and he did an excellent job. He was always smiling and really paid attention to the usual time that we left our room so he could make sure to get it cleaned. My son loved the towel animals. Our room was somewhat cramped, but I guess you get what you pay for. We didn't get to see any of the shows because after dinner our sons were usually ready to settle down for bed. After the kids went to sleep we would usually take turns going out. Karaoke was fun, but usually most of the people who went up there could not carry a tune (but I guess the point is to be entertained by how good drunk people think they really are). The comedian I saw JeRome was hilarious, but a little raunchy for more conservative people. Then we would got to the piano bar sing-alongs with Jafar, which were fun, but after 2 or 3 nights I got tired of hearing the same old standards....Piano Man, Sweet Carloline, and Tiny Dancer. Then we would head to the dance club and dance until 2 or 3 in the morning. Sometimes the song selection was great, other nights they would play rave-like music that we just couldn't dance to. We went to the dance party on the Lido Deck one night, led by Stu and Pip which consisted of line dances, YMCA, cupid shuffle, conga line, etc. It was fun, but almost a little too popular as the dance floor got quite crowded. As expected, the mixed drinks and cruise photos were a bit overpriced, but I didn't exactly expect anything to be cheap when I booked this cruise. Because of the size of our group and having so many repeat cruisers we were given $100 in shipboard credits and an hour and a half open bar cocktail party, both of which were great extras. We had been scheduled to go on the Carnival Splendor this same week, but of course it was cancelled, so we get 25% off on a future cruise within the next 2 years, which I definitely hope to use. We had been hoping to be on this newer, nicer boat, but I can't say that we were disappointed. We would not hesitate to go again. We did experience some rough waters a few days, but a Dramamine and a few drinks later it didn't seem to bother me. I felt worse after we got off the boat. I would recommend continuing to take some motion sickness medication or wear a Sea Band for 3-4 days after your cruise. I've never felt so dizzy! Disembarkation was delayed because some passengers did not understand that they needed to go show their passports. They finally realized that apparently these passengers did not understand them in English and finally announced it in Russian over the PA. Once it got started it wouldn't have been that bad if we hadn't been on the 8th floor and therefore the last ones to leave. Overall, we had a good time and would recommend cruising with Carnival to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Carnival Spirit 12/06/10 4 day. 1 stop Cabo So let me first explain that this trip is with my wife and me and our two children. One of which celebrated his 3rd birthday on the ship and the other is 10 months old (both boys). Also ... Read More
Carnival Spirit 12/06/10 4 day. 1 stop Cabo So let me first explain that this trip is with my wife and me and our two children. One of which celebrated his 3rd birthday on the ship and the other is 10 months old (both boys). Also this is our older sons second cruise, the first he was not old enough to attend camp carnival so we were very excited about having the "extra help" this time with him being able to visit the camp. Public Spaces: The ship is nice; we had never been on any other class than the Fantasy so it was nice that it was larger. The dEcor to me was very similar to the Paradise, which we had just been on a few months prior. Dark woods with a more toned down interior as compared with some other flashier more Vegas styled ships. The restaurant was nice, I enjoyed the two levels and the dEcor was also elegant. The ship's steakhouse seemed odd that it was right above the lido dining area connected by a staircase and therefore open to the hustle and bustle below. We did not dine there, however we did do the wine pairing held at this venue. Which also was pretty average, I wouldn't do it again. Loved the two-story promenade deck. Great planning! It didn't all feel crammed together. The shops layout was also much nicer in that it was like a mini-mall. All the same items as the other ships, but a much nicer layout. Stateroom: We had an extended balcony. We though that with the two kids the extra space on the balcony would be nice. However, we didn't end up using the balcony with the children as we thought. We did love that when they took a nap we had a beautiful place to relax. So in the end I don't think I can ever not have a balcony again (this was our first), but don't feel that it has to be extended. We are cruising on the Spirit again this March in a regular balcony so we'll see. All in all my wife and I really loved the room. Oh, one thing no flat screen t.v. as advertised; boo! Also DO NOT stay on the 8th floor. Right below lido deck, the "deck party" which started at 10:00 p.m. never seemed to end. Oh and you could hear every chair scoot above you. Food: The lido was the lido. Buffets aren't really my thing, it's too hard to get the food for the kids and for us. I feel like we just are running around the whole time. So we did have most meals in the dining room. Dinner was great every night except the first. I noticed the earlier we got there the better the food was. We did the teatime, that was neat, food wasn't spectacular, but would totally do it again. I hear on the splendor they hold it in a dining room, much more fancy, this was in a lounge along the promenade deck. Oh, there was real ice cream served everyday for about 2 hours at the aft pool. Not soft serve, the real stuff, we loved it! Entertainment: We had the kids so sadly we did not even see one show. Children's Programming: Okay first off I did not like the location of Camp Carnival. The Fantasy class ships have them located in the center of the ship along the atrium at one of the top decks. This ship has it located all the way forward. You literally have to walk down someone's hallway to get to it. Really funky. The room didn't seem open and bright, really felt like an after thought. It might be larger than a Fantasy class ship, but not better. Also the programming I had read so much about and was so excited for just seemed to be lacking. We felt like we were just dropping him off at a daycare center as opposed to a thoughtfully planned out camp. I mean I may be crazy, but I had visions of my 3 year old begging me to let him stay, doing art activities, scavenger hunts, games. Instead we got a 42" plasma baby sitter. Needless to say he didn't really attend much. I know this isn't a Disney ship so maybe my expectations were too high as far as children's programming. It just left me feeling like maybe cruising needs to be something we do as a family when the boys are older, which bums me out 'cause I love it. I also know that the directors change so I am going into my March trip with a completely open mind. Also, I am leaving out that one day they did have a magician that sounded neat it was just at 1:30 (nap time). Again why plan a really cool thing at a time when most kids nap? Cabo San Lucas: Freaken awesome! We didn't plan any excursions. When we were tendered over early that morning we grabbed a water taxi for $7 p/person kids free, roundtrip to lover's beach. The driver first stopped where people snorkel and we got to see a ton of amazing fish. He then drove us over to the arches for the photo opp. Then were dropped off at the beach. We played, swam, had a blast. The driver returned an hour and a half later and dropped us back off at the marina. We then walked over to Hotel Finisterra right near marina. Hiked up their huge mountain of a driveway to the lobby. I asked how much it would be to spend the day at the resort, the answer: No Charge. Woo hoo! We had a great time, swim up bar, good food, shallow areas for the kiddos to swim. We had a great time. The pools were nice. Overall good trip looking forward to doing it again in March with the extra day in Cabo. I think when traveling with kids I just have to constantly remind myself before we leave this is not going to be how you are imagining it. Sometimes I build it up too much in my head before we go. Then you just get let down. Traveling with kids (toddlers and infants) will always be challenging, but there is also room for fun. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
H and I decided to book at the last minute a return trip on the Spirit. We had taken the Spirit in January 2010 to the Mexican Rivera and had no plans for out fall vacation. So when Carnival made an offer for $600 per person for an ... Read More
H and I decided to book at the last minute a return trip on the Spirit. We had taken the Spirit in January 2010 to the Mexican Rivera and had no plans for out fall vacation. So when Carnival made an offer for $600 per person for an extended balcony on its October 12, 2010 five day cruise, we decided to return.Since our January trip was truly a great trip, decided to retake the Spirit for short trip down to Cabo and Ensenada. What was truly funny was the price for the trip per person cost less than it cost to board the two dogs for the six days. Go figure. The good news: the cattle call problem with the January 2010 sailing was resolved. Through the embarcation process in less than 20 minutes. Food was excelent in the MDR as before and the Lido, while not exactly high cuisine, was edible, except for the hot dogs. Room steward was ok, but not excellent. Even hit a Royal Flush in the casino. At least the sun made it's loan appearance in Cabo, and would highly recommend the snorkeling excurison on the catamaran to anyone who likes to have a pleasant afternoon ride up the coast. the bad news: Only one day of sun out of the five on the ship. Not Carnival's fault, but still depressing. There were too many drunken passengers on this cruise, which made lots of noise in the wee hours of the night, and even during the day. But then again other than drinking, there is nothing to do in Ensenada, so people coming back from shore acting like they left all common sense on board was not surprising. No movies this trip in the Versaille lounge, which would have been a good idea especially the weather being cool and not above 65 degrees during the day and that would have been a good alternative to the casino. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Had a great 5 day vacation on the Carnival Spirit. The ship was very clean and all the staff were extremely nice and helpful. Cruise director Jen was great as well as the rest of the staff. Steward and dining service were amazing. The food ... Read More
Had a great 5 day vacation on the Carnival Spirit. The ship was very clean and all the staff were extremely nice and helpful. Cruise director Jen was great as well as the rest of the staff. Steward and dining service were amazing. The food was all great - no complaints there at all!! The ports were terrible - Cabo san Lucas and Ensenada. Although the ports were not the reason for the cruise at all. The warm chocolate melting cake was one of the best things I ever ate! Glad to see they had healthy options each day as well - not just for entree but dessert as well. Many activities on board were excellent as well - always have fun with trivia :) The shows were good - one was actually great - the Spirit dancers and singers did a great job. Would definitely recommend this ship to everyone, but Baja California is just not for me. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Embarkation in Seattle was effortless. We arrived at the terminal and were on the ship within 20 minutes. We came the day before and spent the night in Seattle. Do not waste your money on Carnival transfers town cars are a heck of a lot ... Read More
Embarkation in Seattle was effortless. We arrived at the terminal and were on the ship within 20 minutes. We came the day before and spent the night in Seattle. Do not waste your money on Carnival transfers town cars are a heck of a lot cheaper even over taxies we used Falcon town cars very good service, would use them again. Carnival likes to scare you into thinking that you'll miss the boat if you do not use their transfer service, HINT: taxies, buses, town cars know all the ships schedules they want your business you will not miss the boat. Cabin crews were friendly, efficient, and cooperative; kept cabin clean. One thing to remember Carnival does not have privacy curtains between sleeping areas, which in my opinion is very disappointing considering I travel with kids, my wife and I certainly would like some private time at night, and we do not need little eyes peering at us. Introduction to ship emergency procedures was handled professionally and I think everyone was happy that the bulky life preservers were not required at the briefing. Decor of the ship was rather schizophrenic in that there was no unifying theme. One area had rather formal, European style decor; another had Egyptian or Middle Eastern feeling where there were naked breasts I'm not a prude by any means but when with young boys who laugh and giggle every time you pass them got embarrassing; buffet area was a modern mess guaranteed to help you lose your appetite. Someone even remarked that the lamps hanging into the walkways were hazardous to people walking by; since they were at head height I hit my head on them many times. Food choice was good and servings were adequate. Not gourmet dining by any even in the dinning room. Servers were pleasant however very slow and forgetful. They do need to consider having soda in the dining room it was a pain having to wait for a soda with your dinner. Disembarking was simple and easy we took our own stuff off the ship and left after we ate breakfast. Customs was fast and easy because we didn't stop in BC. Overall this cruise was outstanding. The food could be improved, and simple room upgrades such as adding privacy curtains would help greatly. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Just off the ship and had a great time. The weather was fantastic! on average it was 70 degrees and sunny. We flew from houston to seattle and stayed 3 days with family before getting on the ship on tuesday may 25th. Getting on board was ... Read More
Just off the ship and had a great time. The weather was fantastic! on average it was 70 degrees and sunny. We flew from houston to seattle and stayed 3 days with family before getting on the ship on tuesday may 25th. Getting on board was easy. We arrived around 12:15 carried our luggage on with us and within 5 minutes were getting sail and sign cards. We took are pictures and walked on to the ship by 12:45. we were in Riveria 1222 an oceanview and dropped off our luggage, it was already cleaned and ready. Our room was spacious enough with a sofa and two twin beds pushed together to form a larger bed. We did not have the comfort beds but they were fine. We did have the comfort bedding and amazzzzing pillows to make up for not having the super soft bed. the bed was a little firm but not so much that it was uncomfortable. The bathroom had plenty of shelving space for all our things and we had three closets to hang clothes in. We ate at the lido deck a few times and the food was always ..ok warm to eat and fill our stomachs. We ate in the dining room every night and the food ranged from good to fantastic. I recommend the crab legs and flat iron steaks to anyone who likes them. We did the anytime dining for the first time and while it was fine i dont think it is was for us. About 4-5 nights the food took a long time to get to us( two hours for an entire meal), and the waitors were having trouble keeping up with everyone. We typicaly ate between 6-7:15. The later we went the better the service was. On two nights the food came much faster and i believe it was because we went later and because we choose to sit with other people who had already ordered before we had arrived. We also ordered room service a few times and the food was pretty good and fairly quick to be delivered. We made it to all the shows. The show celebrating new orleans was by far the best! It was held the first night and had a lot of glitz glam and great dancers/singers. The show did have some risque parts and the costumes did leave little to the imagination but it is suppose to be a las vegas showgirl style show and we enjoyed it. I wouldnt have a problem taking my kids to it. The comedians were good for the most part and entertaining. Unfortuetly we did not make it to British columbia on our last stop. We got all the way there and could see it out the window but they said due to high winds we were unable to dock. we were reimbursed $12 each for port and goverment fees. All the other stops were on time and great. I recomend doing all your shopping in skagway and jeaneau because the deals are better there. Ketchikan was my favorite port but also the priciest for souveniers. The views were spectacular from the ship in tracy arm fjord. We saw a lot of wild life as well as glaciers. All the staff were very nice and our room always looked amazing! i swear if i left for five minutes i would come back to a clean room. the ship was always being cleaned and takin care of and was well maintained. It was very easy to get around the ship and most entertainment was on decks 2 and 3. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We are two seniors from Florida with more than twenty cruises, mostly Caribbean and most with Carnival. We do not expect perfection, we have modest needs and we try to keep our expectations reasonable. Some cruises are more enjoyable than ... Read More
We are two seniors from Florida with more than twenty cruises, mostly Caribbean and most with Carnival. We do not expect perfection, we have modest needs and we try to keep our expectations reasonable. Some cruises are more enjoyable than others; this cruise to Alaska was among the best. We booked air and transfers with Carnival to assure our timely arrival. In order to make it in time in Seattle, we had to leave home at 3AM for our early flight and our return flight would not return us until after 11PM. We did not want to ask friends for a ride in the middle of the night and the local shuttle did not operate at those hours. So we drove to the airport and paid $136 to park. The flights and layover were uneventful. My PVP did not suggest arriving a day early, in retrospect it would have been a better choice. The transfer provided by Carnival and the embarkation process were terrible. On arrival in Seattle we were told to meet a Carnival representative at the baggage claim. He was very cordial, checked our passports and directed us outside to a kiosk. The people staffing the kiosk were rude and arrogant. Everyone seemed to have different paper proof of having purchased a transfer. I was told I was not entitled to the transfer even though my documents clearly stated it was included. After they tore my documents apart - literally - they were in pieces, they checked passports again and then demanded that every piece of luggage including carryons be tagged before proceeding to the bus. I had printed out extra luggage tags, but not enough for the carryons and the scotch tape I had brought to affix them was at the bottom of my carryon - it was not produced quickly enough for the transfer Gestapo, their comments were uncalled for. Once I got the scotch tape out and put the tags on we were allowed to load our own luggage under the bus. We could not put our carryons under because they weren't tagged and we were not allowed to take them on the bus with us. We just stood outside the bus trying to figure out what to do. The bus driver arrived, placed our carryons under the bus and got us settled on the bus. She was a delight. She solved our luggage dilemma, gave us a lovely tour on our way to the port and had our carryons waiting for us as we stepped off the bus. Her efficiency and professionalism erased the awful experience at the beginning of the transfer. At the port it was necessary to walk a fair distance to the terminal and then walk the length of the terminal to start the process. We both have mobility issues and always look for the shortest distance between two points. We showed the FunPass with the VIP on it, but it was ignored. Maybe VIP boarding has not been instituted in Seattle? We were directed to the other end and even though there was no line, no other passengers being processed, we had to walk through the ropes back and forth, up and down the terminal instead of just stepping up to the counter. Once arriving at the counter the process took about a minute. Then we were directed outside to walk the length of the terminal again to start the climb up a series of ramps to the ship. Once onboard we headed straight to the cabin to wash up and rest for a few minutes. Hunger struck and we headed to Lido to see what food might still be served. The regular buffet line was closed, but the rotisserie was still serving. We had roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies. Very good! Before we finished the meal we started to sail away and enjoyed a beautiful sunny, warm, clear and calm start to a fantastic voyage. We did not take part in many of the onboard activities. We have done most before and competing with the passing scenery was no contest. I usually try to win a ship on a stick, but this cruise I did not take the time to join in the games. We chose anytime dining and very much enjoyed it. We never had to wait, our server Assadee was very attentive and anticipated our needs. She suggested choices and always made sure we were happy. We appreciated how nicely Lido was set up with all the food choices. We found that if one area was busy another was not crowded. We never had our minds made up before we went, just ate what was convenient at the moment. We had stir-fry a few times, the carving station three or four times, tried just about every deli sandwich, lots of pizza. Some of the pizza chefs were better than others. Some didn't bake it long enough and it was soggy. Others got it right and the pizza was great! We ordered calzones a couple of times and they were made with only mozzarella, no ricotta at all. Asked about it, but the language barrier got in the way. We ordered room service for many breakfasts and a few snacks. Delivery was accurate and prompt. The sandwiches, salads and veggie plates were just right after a day in port. Overall the food was excellent. We tried many new to us items in the dining room and always found something to enjoy on Lido. One very nice plus was light breakfast was available very early in one of the small serving areas. Cereal, milk, fruit and baked goods were set out for the really early birds. We usually book an inside but chose to splurge on an obstructed view 7A balcony for this cruise. It was a good choice. We enjoyed having breakfast in the quiet while gliding along the beautiful waterways. Waiting for the sun to break over the mountains to start the day was a highlight of the trip. The room was very comfortable, lots of storage, good beds and bedding, enough floor space and a well appointed bath with a great shower. Our steward Arjawa (RJ for short) was super efficient and friendly. He truly spoiled us. We saw a number of solo entertainers in passing, in the atrium, various lounges and bars and the casino. None drove us out, but neither did they draw us in. In fairness to them, it was not their lack of talent, I had trouble pulling myself away from the scenery, same for the shows in the main theatre. I dropped in on a few of them and they seemed to be entertaining, but the draw of the open decks was too strong. I had thought I would miss the Seaside Theatre - wrong. The Versailles Lounge became the movie theatre. It was quiet, comfortable, air conditioned and had a great system for showing films. I wished they had shown films more days. The 6PM time slot was a great time for a little R&R before dinner. The ship is fantastic. I had heard how much some enjoyed the Spirit class, I am a fan now too. The steakhouse in the funnel is unique and beautiful. The placement of so many lounges and quiet places around the ship spreads people out and makes it seem uncrowded. Having three pools, one covered, and so many spas is wonderful. The ease of navigating the ship is a plus and the decorating is a nice mix of pastels in Lido with the rich woods in the staircases and elevators. Some of the whimsy is a nice touch. The Jungle Walk is a wonderful area to spend some quiet time looking out a window and the storybook Camelot outside the Conference Room complements the Artists theme in the nearby lounge. I was disappointed in the gym. Continuing some physical therapy on my own while cruising was a high priority. I went to the gym three times and was never successful finding someone to help me get the unfamiliar machine started. I finally piled in but was not able to set the digital readout or the tension. While in the gym I bumped into a few other cruisers who were disappointed in the array of machines. They seem to be geared to those who already enjoy high levels of fitness with nothing for those who have limited range of motion or impact restrictions. Maybe some of the machines might fill the bill, but without instructions on the machines or a person to ask, it was a waste of time. Disembarking was another terrible ordeal. As platinum cruisers we were directed to a lounge near the front of the ship to be escorted off with the #1. There were about ten of us gathered in the lounge when a member of the entertainment staff came to get us. I followed the group until they were directed up a flight of stairs. By the time I realized I could not do the stairs, the group had vanished. I took the elevator and joined the regular line and was off fairly quickly. The line for the transfer went on and on. We were directed to lines depending on which airline we were flying. The lines moved ridiculously slowly. Again the issue seemed to be the different "tickets" everyone had for the transfer. Some people were boarded and then it was discovered they had not purchased transfers and they were asked to get off the bus. Some people clearly thought they had bought the transfers, but apparently were misinformed. The whole scene was ugly, exasperating and an area where there is "room for improvement". We had the same lovely driver for the trip back to the airport and she was a gracious as ever. She is a gem - I'm sorry I did not catch her name. The flights home were uneventful, we did get a nice upgrade on the second leg. Overall this cruise was outstanding. Carnival did not disappoint with the ship, level of service, accommodations and dining. Mother Nature treated us to many sunny and calm days and the most extraordinary natural beauty. The sunsets after 11pm and the lightening sky at 3am gave hours and hours of the most beautiful landscapes that changed as the light changed. I was never bored; found time to lose my share in the casino, eat myself stupid and explore wonderful ports. The ship was a joy to explore in the early morning hours and to talk with the crew who were busy at their duties, but not overwhelmed by passengers. The one area that was way below Carnival's standard was in the transfers. I prefer to think that whoever trained the staff in the fairly new to Carnival port was overzealous and instilled a follow the rules mandate without thought to common sense, manners and patience. A standardized form of ticketing the transfers would go a long way in easing the confusion. I have every confidence that these shortcomings will evolve to an efficient part of the process. I would love to return to Alaska and sail with Carnival there again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Embarkation was easy and moved quickly. We took on our own luggage so no chance of a lost bag and we were able to clean up to go roaming around ship and eat. Carnival messed up our reservation and had 3 of us in 2 separate rooms, but we ... Read More
Embarkation was easy and moved quickly. We took on our own luggage so no chance of a lost bag and we were able to clean up to go roaming around ship and eat. Carnival messed up our reservation and had 3 of us in 2 separate rooms, but we all hung out in the room with the balcony. Our room steward, Fery, came and introduced himself and learned our names on the first night. In the morning and evening he was there to greet us and addressed us by our names. I was impressed by this because recognizing someones presence is important to me. We ordered room service on the morning of an early tour and it was delivered at the time requested and the order was exact. Our land tours were a little pricey but took us to some interesting places. We enjoyed them and learned a lot of history. Celebrated our life events by eating in the Nouveau Steakhouse. Absolutely 5-star! The waitress, Natalya, and the others that serviced us were friendly yet professional, very accommodating, and acted truly interested in our cruise. More than enough food, and oh, so yummy. All other meals were in the self-serve, eat-as-you-are dining room. The sub sandwich choices were very good, the pizza was fresh and hot, the buffets were tasty, the fruit and salad bars always fresh and good selections. The breakfast buffets were always the same ol' stuff and got a little boring. Too many pig meats for my liking. There were not enough activities leaving a lot of downtime and cruising got boring. There are a lot of trivia games, which my family enjoys, but not much else. It is my opinion that Carnival leaves open a lot of downtime so you will hang out in the casino and leave your money with them. This has been my opinions on the last 3 Carnival cruises, and have said so on the surveys but nothing has changed. The Showtime entertainment is second rate; not the Las Vegas style it used to be. It's not the ooh-aah that it once was and for the most part you get bored before the show is over. The Newlywed Game was not played on this ship. What's a cruise without the Newlywed Game?!?! We used the self-serve laundry mid cruise and considered it to be too costly but had clean clothes. Something will always ruin your trip; ours was the neighbors. One side had a crazy woman that got off on slamming the room door and the patio door continuously, every now-and-then the bathroom door. The other side was rowdy and slammed drawers, and the doors coming-and-going, thus including their grown daughter and her husband, who also entertained themselves with the handle to the adjoining room door; continuously trying to get it to open. Then both sides would go out on their balconies and drag the chairs from one side to another. A couple of days of this and then the guy below our room started doing the same because of my neighbors. One night was worse than all the others with the crazy woman and after speaking to the husband about how his wife was being inconsiderate when we are trying to sleep, we called Security but all they did was make excuses for her and something about them being old and the doors are heavy and they have problems hanging on to the doors. Really?!?! My mother is those people's age and never slammed a door, every one of us on that ship had heavy doors but only one slammed doors (intentionally) hard enough to rock our room and cause the patio doors to vibrate, and us to be shaken in our beds. After Security left our room the nut went out on the balcony and started blowing a whistle and laughing about it bothering us. Then, throughout the night, called our phone. let it ring 3 times and hang up. Interesting, the last 2 days were very quiet in the nut's room; no slamming doors, very little patio activity, very quiet through the night. I guess the old folks figured out how to handle the heavy doors. If Carnival hadn't messed up my reservation, I would have only had one neighbor to be concerned with not two noisy ones. Naturalist, Michelle, kept us well informed of oncoming sea life. Saw lots of whales and porpoises. Her whale talk was very interesting and educational. The best prices for anything on that ship was at the coffee/bakery kiosk. Hey Stu, polar bears wear speedos. 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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