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It's hard to know where to begin. The overall experience was very good. Carnival Spirit is a big ship with plenty for adults and children to do. STANDOUT GOOD POINTS: The food is excellent in all areas. Service is friendly, attentive and smooth. The ship is well maintained and clean. STANDOUT BAD POINTS: We were at the back of the ship, so the diesel fumes made our balcony an unappealing option to hang out. Drinks are terribly over-priced. $7.50 AUD for a tap beer, no matter where you are or what time, is ridiculous. Yeah, I know I should expect to pay more than down at the pub, but I've already paid thousands for the trip. Perhaps there should be a scale of prices: in the restaurant, pay 7.50; in the public areas, pay 5.50 or 6.00. A bottle of pretty average wine was $32. The same, or similar, bottle would be about $12 in my local bottle shop. My daughter stuffed a teddy bear at the kids' club and it cost $40 to keep the thing. Photos are about $25 each from the gallery and the ship's photographers are a little too insistent on taking your picture. The English language skills of much of the crew are terrible. Eventually, I started saying, "Sorry, but I can't understand you." The Captain, an Italian, was almost unintelligible. This is on a ship sailing almost exclusively from Australian ports. Some of the entertainers are excellent; others are just rubbish. One comedian made such liberal use of the F word that I walked out. In the piano bar, where my wife and I were expecting some classy songs, the musician was playing a portable keyboard with awfully loud backing tracks, and singing terribly - the complete opposite of what the venue required (IMO). There were so many good pianos on the ship, and not one of them was used effectively. That said, two of the guitarist-vocalists were probably as good as you'll find anywhere, including the pop charts. General comments: As a first-timer (and an inland dweller), I found myself fascinated by the sea, sitting for long periods just looking at it. I did some things, like the Green Thunder water slide, that I'm glad about. We had some wonderful food in the reasonably-priced Nouveau Restaurant. My daughter also loved the Sushi cafe. Carnival did put on some free drinks for the "meet and greet" with the senior officers. My attitude was "If Carnival is giving something away, I'm taking it." We thought Mare Island was a dump, and we weren't paying the $56 to get the shuttle bus to the main beach. We got to Noumea on New Year's Day when every single shop and business was shut, so I have no idea what the place is like when it's up and running. Isle of Pines, however, was beautiful. I'd like to go back there one day, but I almost certainly won't. The Pacific islands don't hold much attraction for me. The main action is on the ship. My daughter (almost 11) had the time of her life. Some days we hardly saw her, as she darted off to the Sharks club every day. The slides and pools are great for the youngsters. The Empire Dining room was great. The staff were lovely and we got to know them pretty well. We also sat each night with a mum and her two boys from Sydney, who were also lovely company. Even though the ship was crowded in certain places (the Lido deck buffets, especially), you could always, without fail, get a deck chair on the top at any time of the day or night. The NY Eve party on board was a lot of fun. Embarking took no longer than half an hour; disbarking, no longer than 10 minutes. This was fantastic. Carnival employees mingle around the passenger terminal, making sure you have the right documents and know exactly where to go. We found this to be extremely helpful. On-board shops: being first-timers, we got lots of little trinkets to bring home. I considered buying a GoPro camera duty-free, but I had no idea what the saving (if any) would have been. You know, take away the import duty and GST, but then add Carnival's high mark-up, and you might end up paying the same price as you would at your local K-Mart. I didn't have any way of finding this out, as the 45 minutes of internet I purchased (for only $29) was mostly spent waiting for pages to load. In the end, it was the people that made it worthwhile. Carnival does have a happy, professional crew and my fellow passengers were generally courteous and friendly. I'd go again, but maybe with a different cruise line to different locations.

Mixed Feeling for a First Cruise

Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by yolhanson

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
It's hard to know where to begin.

The overall experience was very good. Carnival Spirit is a big ship with plenty for adults and children to do.

STANDOUT GOOD POINTS:

The food is excellent in all areas.

Service is friendly, attentive and smooth.

The ship is well maintained and clean.

STANDOUT BAD POINTS:

We were at the back of the ship, so the diesel fumes made our balcony an unappealing option to hang out.

Drinks are terribly over-priced. $7.50 AUD for a tap beer, no matter where you are or what time, is ridiculous. Yeah, I know I should expect to pay more than down at the pub, but I've already paid thousands for the trip. Perhaps there should be a scale of prices: in the restaurant, pay 7.50; in the public areas, pay 5.50 or 6.00. A bottle of pretty average wine was $32. The same, or similar, bottle would be about $12 in my local bottle shop.

My daughter stuffed a teddy bear at the kids' club and it cost $40 to keep the thing.

Photos are about $25 each from the gallery and the ship's photographers are a little too insistent on taking your picture.

The English language skills of much of the crew are terrible. Eventually, I started saying, "Sorry, but I can't understand you." The Captain, an Italian, was almost unintelligible. This is on a ship sailing almost exclusively from Australian ports.

Some of the entertainers are excellent; others are just rubbish. One comedian made such liberal use of the F word that I walked out.

In the piano bar, where my wife and I were expecting some classy songs, the musician was playing a portable keyboard with awfully loud backing tracks, and singing terribly - the complete opposite of what the venue required (IMO). There were so many good pianos on the ship, and not one of them was used effectively.

That said, two of the guitarist-vocalists were probably as good as you'll find anywhere, including the pop charts.

General comments:

As a first-timer (and an inland dweller), I found myself fascinated by the sea, sitting for long periods just looking at it.

I did some things, like the Green Thunder water slide, that I'm glad about.

We had some wonderful food in the reasonably-priced Nouveau Restaurant. My daughter also loved the Sushi cafe.

Carnival did put on some free drinks for the "meet and greet" with the senior officers. My attitude was "If Carnival is giving something away, I'm taking it."

We thought Mare Island was a dump, and we weren't paying the $56 to get the shuttle bus to the main beach. We got to Noumea on New Year's Day when every single shop and business was shut, so I have no idea what the place is like when it's up and running.

Isle of Pines, however, was beautiful. I'd like to go back there one day, but I almost certainly won't. The Pacific islands don't hold much attraction for me. The main action is on the ship.

My daughter (almost 11) had the time of her life. Some days we hardly saw her, as she darted off to the Sharks club every day.

The slides and pools are great for the youngsters.

The Empire Dining room was great. The staff were lovely and we got to know them pretty well. We also sat each night with a mum and her two boys from Sydney, who were also lovely company.

Even though the ship was crowded in certain places (the Lido deck buffets, especially), you could always, without fail, get a deck chair on the top at any time of the day or night.

The NY Eve party on board was a lot of fun.

Embarking took no longer than half an hour; disbarking, no longer than 10 minutes. This was fantastic. Carnival employees mingle around the passenger terminal, making sure you have the right documents and know exactly where to go. We found this to be extremely helpful.

On-board shops: being first-timers, we got lots of little trinkets to bring home. I considered buying a GoPro camera duty-free, but I had no idea what the saving (if any) would have been. You know, take away the import duty and GST, but then add Carnival's high mark-up, and you might end up paying the same price as you would at your local K-Mart. I didn't have any way of finding this out, as the 45 minutes of internet I purchased (for only $29) was mostly spent waiting for pages to load.

In the end, it was the people that made it worthwhile. Carnival does have a happy, professional crew and my fellow passengers were generally courteous and friendly.

I'd go again, but maybe with a different cruise line to different locations.
yolhanson’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Ages 10 to 12
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7302
Small for three people. Balcony was difficult to use because of the diesel fumes.
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