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We booked the cruise in February 2009 directly through the Carnival website at the Past Guest rate. A couple of days before the Early Saver 5-month deadline, we converted our booking to the ES rate. That resulted in a $60 credit on our final payment. After final payment date the prices only increased so we did not receive any OBC nor were we ever offered an upgrade or upsell. Still we were very happy with what the cruise cost - about half of what it was when we first started looking a couple of years ago and less than our Caribbean cruise on the Elation from Galveston 5 years ago. After a 4-day rail & bus trip to Denali NP, we embarked on the Carnival Spirit at Whittier for the 7-day Southbound cruise ending in Vancouver, BC. Ports of call included Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. I will try to limit this review to the Spirit and the onshore activities related to Carnival. We've only been on 1 previous cruise - Elation to the Western Caribbean from Galveston in Oct 2004 - so we do not have a lot of experience to compare. As our cruise was "port-intensive," we tended to relate to the Spirit as more of a floating hotel as opposed to a cruise ship, so we did not participate in a lot of onboard activities. We also had weather! Very rough seas Thursday afternoon and night and rain, fog, & mist in Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway. Ketchikan though was beautiful - lots of sunshine, 60deg - and a magnificient sunset! Regardless, our Alaska experience was unforgettable! Embarkation: Upon arrival in Whittier, we took a glacier cruise, arriving back at the dock about 5:45pm. Embarkation was quick and easy - onboard in 15 minutes. We went to the Lido for dinner. Our luggage was delivered in good order about 7pm. Accommodations: We were in 4D #6161 on Verandah Deck. We didn't spend a lot of time in our cabin, but that was the main idea. Our cabin steward, Pepito , was very attentive while being non-intrusive. Our cabin was immaculately clean the entire 7 days. It was adequate in size and amenities. One negative - the bed was uncomfortably firm - or should we say just plain hard. A more comfortable bed would definitely have added to our cruise experience! We chose an inside cabin for several reasons - #1 being price - a minimum of $800 difference from a guarantee balcony. We also knew that with 4 port days and the extended port times of the southbound cruise, we wanted to spend as much time as we could onshore. Last but not least, being inside made us get up, get dressed, get some coffee, and get topside for the scenery while underway. We did fine with the inside cabin and would probably do it again. Dining: First let me qualify my comments about the dining. We are not "fine diners." We are on the road a lot and eat where and when we can. We actually sit down at a "restaurant" about once a week. We ate in the Empire Dining room only twice. We chose "Our Time" dining option, primarily because of the varied port times. The first night the seas were very rough and the wait staff really had a difficult time. We could hear stuff crashing about and a lot of folks could not finish their meals. We actually enjoyed our dinner, but it took forever to get served. We ate again in the MDR on Saturday evening. Food was good, but again, service was very slow. It appears that the waitstaff for "anytime" is seriously undermanned and overworked. No entertaining or conversation, just take your order and bring your food. Probably will not do it again... The remaining meals, except one evening in the Supper Club, we ate at the Lido buffet. The buffet was, well... a buffet. Sort of a floating Golden Corral. Nothing to rave about but no ranting either. The omelets were good in the morning and lunch seemed to be better than dinner. Best thing was stuff that was good, you could get more of it... We also spent a very pleasant Monday evening at the Nouveau Supper Club after our day in Ketchikan. The food and service were good, but not what we expected. Again, probably will not do this again... Overall, for what we paid for the cruise and considering what dining onshore in Alaska costs, we can't complain too much. The comments others have made about bland food is probably correct, but these folks prepare about 10,000 meals a day. Try that at home... Onboard Activities: Attended one show "Hot Jazz" - not Vegas, but not bad either. For the remainder of the cruise it was early to bed, early to rise.... eating, sleeping and sight-seeing was about it for onboard activities. Ports of Call: Harvard Glacier - Although not actually a port of call, it bears mentioning as it was another one of the highlights of the cruise. The Captain did an excellent job of navigating the waters of College Fjord and brought us within a ¼ mile of the glacier face, rotating the ship so everyone got a good view. Close enough to not only see but hear the glacier calving and feel the wave. Great experience! Sitka - Although we were a couple of hours late getting into Sitka because of the rough weather during the night, the harbor was calm enough for a comfortable tender ride to shore. We were absolutely worn-out from the rough weather during the night, so we went ashore, did a little sightseeing and shopping in town and rode around a bit on the Community Ride bus. The tendering process went rather well. We were in no hurry to get off the ship so we waited and went ashore in tender #17. Returning was quick. We just walked up, boarded the waiting tender and returned to the ship. Juneau - Rain! Lots of rain... But it slacked up enough for us to still enjoy our Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Rainforest Gardens tour, booked through the ship. At Mendenhall, the black bears were having their fill of salmon as we watched from the protected deck area. The glacier was magnificent. The Rainforest excursion was a bit hurried but we enjoyed the overall experience. Our guide, Lawrence, made the tour very enjoyable. Skagway - Again, we chose an independent excursion - the Yukon Rail & Bus Tour hosted by Chilkoot Charters. This was another high point of our cruise & tour, second only to our tour through Denali Natl Park. Ketchikan - An absolutely beautiful day! Sunshine all day long and a magnificent sunset! For our last Alaska port of call, we chose to go with a Carnival hosted tour "Best of Ketchikan by Land & Sea" then spend the remainder of the day wandering about Ketchikan on our own. Ketchikan is the one port to expect rain, but not the day we were there. The boat ride to the Libby Cannery was another great experience as was the tour through the old cannery. Debarkation: Debarkation was at Vancouver's Canada Place. The process was very well organized and orderly. We waited on the Lido deck for our section to be called and exited the ship without delay. We quickly snagged a luggage cart and claimed our luggage which was waiting for us in a neat little group. Canadian Customs was no problem - very pleasant and professional. Within 15-20 minutes of exiting the ship we were at the Quick Coach waiting area for our transfer to SEA-TAC airport. Overall Impressions: Considering our experiences on the Elation 5 years ago, our Alaska cruise on the Spirit was like a being on a different planet. Embarkation and debarkation, along with the tendering process was very well organized. The ship was clean and orderly, the crew efficient and professional. The accommodations were excellent and the food was OK. The excursions we booked through Carnival were interesting and worked out quite well. We had a great time and everything, including the weather came together to make our cruise an unforgettable experience. Our "trip of a lifetime" was just that! Our thanks to Carnival and the Crew of the Spirit. One last note: I've tried to keep this review relevant to Carnival and the Spirit. You can find more detailed reviews, photos, links, etc. in our day-by-day travelogue at Len & Judy's Alaska Travelogue - 2009 . Len & Judy Turner

Alaska... what else can you say

Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by Loblolly_Cruiser

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2009
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Interior
We booked the cruise in February 2009 directly through the Carnival website at the Past Guest rate. A couple of days before the Early Saver 5-month deadline, we converted our booking to the ES rate. That resulted in a $60 credit on our final payment. After final payment date the prices only increased so we did not receive any OBC nor were we ever offered an upgrade or upsell. Still we were very happy with what the cruise cost - about half of what it was when we first started looking a couple of years ago and less than our Caribbean cruise on the Elation from Galveston 5 years ago.
After a 4-day rail & bus trip to Denali NP, we embarked on the Carnival Spirit at Whittier for the 7-day Southbound cruise ending in Vancouver, BC. Ports of call included Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. I will try to limit this review to the Spirit and the onshore activities related to Carnival. We've only been on 1 previous cruise - Elation to the Western Caribbean from Galveston in Oct 2004 - so we do not have a lot of experience to compare. As our cruise was "port-intensive," we tended to relate to the Spirit as more of a floating hotel as opposed to a cruise ship, so we did not participate in a lot of onboard activities. We also had weather! Very rough seas Thursday afternoon and night and rain, fog, & mist in Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway. Ketchikan though was beautiful - lots of sunshine, 60deg - and a magnificient sunset! Regardless, our Alaska experience was unforgettable!
Embarkation: Upon arrival in Whittier, we took a glacier cruise, arriving back at the dock about 5:45pm. Embarkation was quick and easy - onboard in 15 minutes. We went to the Lido for dinner. Our luggage was delivered in good order about 7pm.
Accommodations: We were in 4D #6161 on Verandah Deck. We didn't spend a lot of time in our cabin, but that was the main idea. Our cabin steward, Pepito , was very attentive while being non-intrusive. Our cabin was immaculately clean the entire 7 days. It was adequate in size and amenities. One negative - the bed was uncomfortably firm - or should we say just plain hard. A more comfortable bed would definitely have added to our cruise experience!
We chose an inside cabin for several reasons - #1 being price - a minimum of $800 difference from a guarantee balcony. We also knew that with 4 port days and the extended port times of the southbound cruise, we wanted to spend as much time as we could onshore. Last but not least, being inside made us get up, get dressed, get some coffee, and get topside for the scenery while underway. We did fine with the inside cabin and would probably do it again.
Dining: First let me qualify my comments about the dining. We are not "fine diners." We are on the road a lot and eat where and when we can. We actually sit down at a "restaurant" about once a week.
We ate in the Empire Dining room only twice. We chose "Our Time" dining option, primarily because of the varied port times. The first night the seas were very rough and the wait staff really had a difficult time. We could hear stuff crashing about and a lot of folks could not finish their meals. We actually enjoyed our dinner, but it took forever to get served. We ate again in the MDR on Saturday evening. Food was good, but again, service was very slow. It appears that the waitstaff for "anytime" is seriously undermanned and overworked. No entertaining or conversation, just take your order and bring your food. Probably will not do it again...
The remaining meals, except one evening in the Supper Club, we ate at the Lido buffet. The buffet was, well... a buffet. Sort of a floating Golden Corral. Nothing to rave about but no ranting either. The omelets were good in the morning and lunch seemed to be better than dinner. Best thing was stuff that was good, you could get more of it...
We also spent a very pleasant Monday evening at the Nouveau Supper Club after our day in Ketchikan. The food and service were good, but not what we expected. Again, probably will not do this again...
Overall, for what we paid for the cruise and considering what dining onshore in Alaska costs, we can't complain too much. The comments others have made about bland food is probably correct, but these folks prepare about 10,000 meals a day. Try that at home...
Onboard Activities: Attended one show "Hot Jazz" - not Vegas, but not bad either. For the remainder of the cruise it was early to bed, early to rise.... eating, sleeping and sight-seeing was about it for onboard activities.
Ports of Call: Harvard Glacier - Although not actually a port of call, it bears mentioning as it was another one of the highlights of the cruise. The Captain did an excellent job of navigating the waters of College Fjord and brought us within a ¼ mile of the glacier face, rotating the ship so everyone got a good view. Close enough to not only see but hear the glacier calving and feel the wave. Great experience!
Sitka - Although we were a couple of hours late getting into Sitka because of the rough weather during the night, the harbor was calm enough for a comfortable tender ride to shore. We were absolutely worn-out from the rough weather during the night, so we went ashore, did a little sightseeing and shopping in town and rode around a bit on the Community Ride bus. The tendering process went rather well. We were in no hurry to get off the ship so we waited and went ashore in tender #17. Returning was quick. We just walked up, boarded the waiting tender and returned to the ship.
Juneau - Rain! Lots of rain... But it slacked up enough for us to still enjoy our Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Rainforest Gardens tour, booked through the ship. At Mendenhall, the black bears were having their fill of salmon as we watched from the protected deck area. The glacier was magnificent. The Rainforest excursion was a bit hurried but we enjoyed the overall experience. Our guide, Lawrence, made the tour very enjoyable.
Skagway - Again, we chose an independent excursion - the Yukon Rail & Bus Tour hosted by Chilkoot Charters. This was another high point of our cruise & tour, second only to our tour through Denali Natl Park.
Ketchikan - An absolutely beautiful day! Sunshine all day long and a magnificent sunset! For our last Alaska port of call, we chose to go with a Carnival hosted tour "Best of Ketchikan by Land & Sea" then spend the remainder of the day wandering about Ketchikan on our own. Ketchikan is the one port to expect rain, but not the day we were there. The boat ride to the Libby Cannery was another great experience as was the tour through the old cannery.
Debarkation: Debarkation was at Vancouver's Canada Place. The process was very well organized and orderly. We waited on the Lido deck for our section to be called and exited the ship without delay. We quickly snagged a luggage cart and claimed our luggage which was waiting for us in a neat little group. Canadian Customs was no problem - very pleasant and professional. Within 15-20 minutes of exiting the ship we were at the Quick Coach waiting area for our transfer to SEA-TAC airport.
Overall Impressions: Considering our experiences on the Elation 5 years ago, our Alaska cruise on the Spirit was like a being on a different planet. Embarkation and debarkation, along with the tendering process was very well organized. The ship was clean and orderly, the crew efficient and professional. The accommodations were excellent and the food was OK. The excursions we booked through Carnival were interesting and worked out quite well.
We had a great time and everything, including the weather came together to make our cruise an unforgettable experience. Our "trip of a lifetime" was just that! Our thanks to Carnival and the Crew of the Spirit.
One last note: I've tried to keep this review relevant to Carnival and the Spirit. You can find more detailed reviews, photos, links, etc. in our day-by-day travelogue at Len & Judy's Alaska Travelogue - 2009 .
Len & Judy Turner
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4D 6161
Clean, quiet, well located. No problems.
Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins