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My family (husband and I plus our two boys 7 and 11) went on this cruise with our in laws and another family (husband wife and 7 year old son) on April 6th. It was spring break for the kids and for my mother in law, who is a teacher. Husband and I are Carnival veterans, this was our 8th cruise. However, this was our first time leaving from San Diego. Embarkation: We drove down to San Diego and left our cars in a park in ride. A shuttle at the park and ride provided a free shuttle to the cruise terminal. After a short ride to the terminal, I noticed a huge amount of people at the terminal all scattered about. I though, "how unorganized! This is going to take hours!". I was wrong! Despite all the people and a computer problem (they could not process our paperwork or activate our expense accounts) we on the ship in 30 minutes. Food: In the 10 years we have been cruising with Carnival, they have not changed their menu, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! I look forward to their wonderful cold soups (gaspatcho, mango crea, strawberry) every cruise, as well as lobster and bread pudding. The dining room service has always been spectacular, but this time it was just horrible! The dinner service was the low point of the cruise. Our waitress was really bad. She wasn't rude or unpleasant,just really inept! We were getting out appetizers while other diners were getting their desserts! She would bring items out and leave on the tray for up to 15 minutes before she served them. Dinner service the first night took 2 hours. We complained to the head waiter, but the poor service continued all week. The Supper Club service was great and the food was good. The bartender was a chatty Slovenian girl who was very heavy handed with with the vodka in her martini's! You definitely got what you paid for! Lido dining had a large variety of items, but the lines were long. Long lines, however, are to be expected when you travel during spring break. Cabo: There were 5 ships in port, which is a lot for a small town like Cabo. The tenders took forever! We had booked a shore tour through another agency and had to cancel because they were running late. Shopped for about an hour, then got an early tender back on the ship. No big, I've been to Cabo 4 times before, so I wasn't missing out. Mazatlan: Did the Stone Island tour. Great beach, but the vendors can get quite annoying. You buy one thing, then the others's swarm you. Not much can be done since all of Mexico's beaches are public. La Paz: Hired a taxi and spent the day at a local beach. The water is crystal clear, but very cold! Downtown was quaint, not much was open. On board activities: Bingo, at $20, was a rip off. I enjoyed the trivia games won some medals and a "plastic ship on a stick". My 11 year old loved karaoke. He really didn't participate much in the kids club due to the fact that he was at the tail end (he was 2 months from turning 12) of the 9 to 11 kids club. My 7 year old and his friend had dinner everynight with the kids club. The past guest and captains party were wonderful. Waiters walked around with cocktails and appetizers. The shops were overpriced, but I did get a good deal on Absolut vodka, 2 bottles for $18! I avoided the art auction like the plague since I spent $395 on a painting on my last cruise and never even hung it up! We didn't check out the shows. We all find them to be very cheesy and can't stand the over the top, exaggerated singing! They are produced well, but not really our cup of tea! Debarkation: Our steward was kind enough to let us stay in cabin until they called our group. Getting off the ship was a snap and before we knew it we were on our shuttle to the parking garage. We hopped in the car and head home planning our next cruise the entire 2 hours that it took to get home! Final thoughts: I am a believer that the most important thing to take with you on vacation is an open mind. Keep in mind that you are on a Carnival ship, the most affordable cruise line out there. Keep that in mind anytime you question the clientele or the food quality. You are also an adult and are perfectly capable of locating your own room. You aren't royalty or a super celeb, so don't expect champagne to be handed to you. Again, if you desire services such as room escorts and champagne service, then book a Crystal cruise. If you feel like you don't fit in, book at Holland America. Kids bother you? Don't go on a cruise during spring break, if you don't have a choice, book a cruise that is geared towards an older crowd or couples. Treat the staff like you would want to be treated. If you are condescending or belittling, expect to be treated just as bad. I go on Carnival knowing I am NOT going to get white glove treatment. I know I am going to encounter some "trashy" people and mediocre food. Why do I go? Because Carnival fits my family and friends' budgets to a tee. I know what to expect, I get what I pay for and sometimes evenmore! By the way, we will be going on our 9th Carnival Cruise on Aug 25th!

Spring Break

Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by THOR1211

Trip Details
My family (husband and I plus our two boys 7 and 11) went on this cruise with our in laws and another family (husband wife and 7 year old son) on April 6th. It was spring break for the kids and for my mother in law, who is a teacher. Husband and I are Carnival veterans, this was our 8th cruise. However, this was our first time leaving from San Diego.
Embarkation: We drove down to San Diego and left our cars in a park in ride. A shuttle at the park and ride provided a free shuttle to the cruise terminal. After a short ride to the terminal, I noticed a huge amount of people at the terminal all scattered about. I though, "how unorganized! This is going to take hours!". I was wrong! Despite all the people and a computer problem (they could not process our paperwork or activate our expense accounts) we on the ship in 30 minutes.
Food: In the 10 years we have been cruising with Carnival, they have not changed their menu, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! I look forward to their wonderful cold soups (gaspatcho, mango crea, strawberry) every cruise, as well as lobster and bread pudding. The dining room service has always been spectacular, but this time it was just horrible! The dinner service was the low point of the cruise. Our waitress was really bad. She wasn't rude or unpleasant,just really inept! We were getting out appetizers while other diners were getting their desserts! She would bring items out and leave on the tray for up to 15 minutes before she served them. Dinner service the first night took 2 hours. We complained to the head waiter, but the poor service continued all week. The Supper Club service was great and the food was good. The bartender was a chatty Slovenian girl who was very heavy handed with with the vodka in her martini's! You definitely got what you paid for! Lido dining had a large variety of items, but the lines were long. Long lines, however, are to be expected when you travel during spring break.
Cabo: There were 5 ships in port, which is a lot for a small town like Cabo. The tenders took forever! We had booked a shore tour through another agency and had to cancel because they were running late. Shopped for about an hour, then got an early tender back on the ship. No big, I've been to Cabo 4 times before, so I wasn't missing out.
Mazatlan: Did the Stone Island tour. Great beach, but the vendors can get quite annoying. You buy one thing, then the others's swarm you. Not much can be done since all of Mexico's beaches are public.
La Paz: Hired a taxi and spent the day at a local beach. The water is crystal clear, but very cold! Downtown was quaint, not much was open.
On board activities: Bingo, at $20, was a rip off. I enjoyed the trivia games won some medals and a "plastic ship on a stick". My 11 year old loved karaoke. He really didn't participate much in the kids club due to the fact that he was at the tail end (he was 2 months from turning 12) of the 9 to 11 kids club. My 7 year old and his friend had dinner everynight with the kids club. The past guest and captains party were wonderful. Waiters walked around with cocktails and appetizers. The shops were overpriced, but I did get a good deal on Absolut vodka, 2 bottles for $18! I avoided the art auction like the plague since I spent $395 on a painting on my last cruise and never even hung it up! We didn't check out the shows. We all find them to be very cheesy and can't stand the over the top, exaggerated singing! They are produced well, but not really our cup of tea!
Debarkation: Our steward was kind enough to let us stay in cabin until they called our group. Getting off the ship was a snap and before we knew it we were on our shuttle to the parking garage. We hopped in the car and head home planning our next cruise the entire 2 hours that it took to get home!
Final thoughts: I am a believer that the most important thing to take with you on vacation is an open mind. Keep in mind that you are on a Carnival ship, the most affordable cruise line out there. Keep that in mind anytime you question the clientele or the food quality. You are also an adult and are perfectly capable of locating your own room. You aren't royalty or a super celeb, so don't expect champagne to be handed to you. Again, if you desire services such as room escorts and champagne service, then book a Crystal cruise. If you feel like you don't fit in, book at Holland America. Kids bother you? Don't go on a cruise during spring break, if you don't have a choice, book a cruise that is geared towards an older crowd or couples. Treat the staff like you would want to be treated. If you are condescending or belittling, expect to be treated just as bad. I go on Carnival knowing I am NOT going to get white glove treatment. I know I am going to encounter some "trashy" people and mediocre food. Why do I go? Because Carnival fits my family and friends' budgets to a tee. I know what to expect, I get what I pay for and sometimes evenmore! By the way, we will be going on our 9th Carnival Cruise on Aug 25th!
THOR1211’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service
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