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.