First Cruise Made Me Hungry For More!: Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by Podie

Carnival Spirit 5
Member Since 2007
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First Cruise Made Me Hungry For More!

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Vancouver
My husband (Rich) and I flew out of Orlando to Seattle and met up with our Army daughter Jean, who had her own inside cabin.  After a couple of days in Seattle we took Amtrak to Vancouver, which was very relaxing.  After a night in Vancouver, we walked to Canada Place and scoped out the ship, which was HUGE to us!  We returned to the hotel (Marriott Pinnacle), gathered our things, and arrived at the dock at 11 AM.  It was very well organized and after finishing all the processing, we had 20 minutes to wait until the 11:45 boarding.

I was super excited to be one of the first to board.  We took a quick tour of the ship and went up to the Lido deck for lunch.  The Asian meal was decent.  We could finally enter our cabin at 1:30, we heard a thump not two minutes later, and our luggage arrived!  We were unpacked and ready for adventure by 2 PM. I toured the spa but never found the time or money for a treatment.  At our early dinner More seating we discovered our travel agent (also on board) had gotten us one of the tables at the aft windows so we had a wonderful view for sailaway at 6 PM.  Aside from a few minor problems here and there, our dining room experiences were all excellent.

I just couldn't drag myself away from the balcony with binoculars, long after my husband was asleep.  It was absolutely gorgeous out there.  It was never very cold on our cruise so the balcony was great.  We were up at 6 each morning, when room service arrived.  We watched cruise director Chris and his assistant on their morning show and it was entertaining.  I used a treadmill in the fitness center, which had great views, but that was the only day there wasn't a line for treadmills.  I didn't feel well and realized I hadn't taken Bonine.  I took it every morning after that and didn't have a problem after that, even on our last sea day, which was a little rough.  We ate at the hamburger grill but weren't impressed.

It was pouring when we got to Ketchikan but soon brightened up.  I don't like to shop so I knew I needed to get out of town and had arranged for a three hour tour with Ketchikan Taxi Cab.  David Freeman picked us up at 10:30 and we had a great three hours a Potlatch Park, Totem Bight, and Settlers Cove, after which we surprised a black bear alongside the road.  The naturalist, Michelle, had told us we had no chance of seeing bears because none would have come down the mountains yet, but to be honest I wasn't very impressed with her.  We ate lunch at Cape Fox Lodge, where the food was great - I highly recommend it.  We walked past all the diamond and jewelry places and got back on the boat.

That night we ate at the Nouveau Supper Club, which was very good although I thought the lobster had been better in the dining room the night before.  There was a complete rainbow in the sky as we left, which I considered a good omen.  The next morning we arrived in Juneau, which started out drizzly but turned beautiful.  We rented a car from Rent-a-Wreck and drove up to the Shrine of St. Therese, which was serene as we walked the labyrinth, then ate at Hot Bites (good but slow) in Auke Bay Marina, then boarded our 1:30 PM Harv an Marv whale watching tour!

This was certainly one of the highlights of the trip and I recommend it to everyone.  With only six of us on board a very smooth boat, we saw many humpbacks and sea lions.  Afterward we visited Mendenhall Glacier, returned the rental car, and ate dinner at Hangar on the Whark, which was excellent but I was so full I had to walk two miles on deck before I would allow myself to rest!

It was a gorgeous day when we arrived in Skagway and we picked up our Avis rental car at 8:30 and headed north.  Just past the border, we stopped to watch and photograph a brown bear at the side of the road.  I guess he got tired of that because he took a step toward the car and swiped at us, so we moved on.  We also saw Dall sheep as we entered the Yukon, visited the town of Carcross, turned around at Emerald Lake, and ate at Cinnamon Cache, which was good.  We returned to Skagway in time to eat at Bonanza, walk around, and see the movie about the Gold Rush at the Visitors Center, which was excellent.

We saw lots and lots of whales traveling from Skagway to Sitka, although the naturalist gave us very little direction.  You couldn't miss the blows, and at one point a baby humpback was trying to breach.  That was something.  It was sunny and in the 70's in Sitka.  We were on the first tender out and we ate at the Westmark Hotel as we waited for our cruise with Capt. Davey.  In our three hours with him we saw a humpback as well as a gray whale, lots of otters, seals, and bald eagles, and adorable puffins.  It was a magical day and I hated to see it end.  Our second and last day at sea was rough so we hung around on Lido with our binoculars.  I hadn't eaten many meals up there and was shocked at the crowds at the buffets.  I wondered why they braved the crowds for mediocre food when the dining room served a great breakfast, lunch and dinner?  I must say I was a little disappointed with the food on the Lido deck.

I was sad to leave the ship but debarkation was extremely well organized.  We were ready at 7 AM as instructed and our group was calledat 7:30.  Our shuttle (Girdwood) picked us up at 8:45 and we were at the airport by 10:30 picking up our rental car.  We spent the next two days in Denali.

I would not hesitate to cruise Carnival again.  In fact, I'm looking into doing the Legend next! Less

Published 06/16/09
Helpful? Thank Podie

Cabin review: 8C5203 Balcony

5203 was just perfect.  Plenty of closet space, a nice little balcny with two chairs and a little table, very adequate bathroom with a shower that drained well.

Read All Balcony (8C) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Vancouver had lots of great places to eat and Stanley Park is beautiful.  Canada Place was extremely well organized and embarkation was painless.

Read more Carnival Spirit cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Carnival Spirit Review >>
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