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Decided to find out why Australia loves cruises so much at the moment. So, we took the plunge and went on our first cruise. Would it be our last? Overview: We booked on a “special” offered by Carnival. As it turned out we seemed to have got a great deal as our special turned out to be an upgraded room and also instant Carnival Red Status (this may have been as we called Carnival to ask a few queries prior to the cruise and the lady in the US was excellent and was eager to help out). Boarded early at 11:30 on Friday. We found embarkation to be surprisingly quick and efficient. However, we did see from the ship that there were longer queues as the day progressed. Departed right on time at 4 p.m. Leaving Sydney Harbour on a big ship was on my wife’s “to do” list so this was excellent. Sydney is a magnificent harbour and we were lucky that the weather held just enough to make it spectacular. We then spent Saturday and Sunday at sea as you cruise up the Australian East coast. Monday morning, we were up early at 5:30 a.m. to see the return trip into the harbour. Again, this was worth getting up for albeit the sun had not really woken up yet to greet us. The ship docked at 6:30 a.m. and by this time the sun had begun to shine through. We were fortunate (for us anyway) to be assigned to a later disembarkation time meaning we could watch the arrival into port, go back to the room and shower and have breakfast and a coffee and not have to rush anywhere or stand in any long queues. Weather: Friday was overcast. Saturday was overcast, rainy and a little breezy causing some methodical rocking of the boat but nothing too dramatic. Only real downside with this is that everybody is inside making it feel a little cramped and busy onboard. Sunday saw the sun come out and change the whole mood of the ship and the feeling of space increased dramatically as people spread out into the open sunny areas on deck. Room: The room was far more spacious than we expected. It is a little dated but was more than adequate, especially as we did not really spend much time in the room. The balcony was also a usable size which came as a bit of a surprise and was a great place to sit and have some quiet time. There was also plenty of storage space. Only a couple of issues for us. The pillows were really, really soft. The walls are not the thickest. One room above us had people in it who were up early each day and would be stomping around the cabin. It was a bit annoying and inconsiderate. Similar with those getting back to their rooms early in the morning and staggering along the corridors talking a lot louder than they realise. Life on a ship I guess. Food Stations: Better than expected but we did not have high hopes in this department. There certainly is enough for everyone and many people seemed to enjoy (no really, really enjoy) the unlimited freedom to eat almost non-stop through the day. Food stations ranged from the beer absorbing pie and snag station to a very tasty and healthy salad bar. Did seem to be something for everyone. There was also a dessert bar and unlimited self-serve cones in vanilla and chocolate. A number of the food stations are around the pool area so you could swim, drink and listen to the DJ/watch movies. Main Dining: For a slightly more sedate experience we dined at the main restaurant in the evenings to enjoy their 3 course dinners. On two of the three nights we found the food to be very tasty and of a good quality. However, the Mexican theme night seemed to be a bit lazy. The flavour was fine, but it was really just the same as the Mexican food station out by the pool and certainly not up to the standard of a good quality Mexican restaurant. Each evening we had a bottle of wine with our dinner (at extra cost). The wine was reasonably priced with a relatively small wine list trying to cover most tastes. We had lunch in the dining room on one of the days and it was by far and away our worst meal of the cruise. A couple of the dishes presented did not accurately represent the words on the menu which was odd. Also, there is a fine dining restaurant for an additional surcharge of $55 per person but we did not feel the need to try it. Bars and Casino: There are plenty of places to get a drink. Everything from a piano bar to a pub and sports bar type places. And for a captive market they were reasonably priced. 500ml can of Heineken A$8.5. Most cocktails were around the A$13 mark. There was a “cruise special” full drink double for A$5. In other words, a double JD and (double) coke was approx. $13 but 2 JD and cokes were $18. There was a reasonable selection of spirits depending on which bar you were in. There was a lot of people drinking a lot of grog. Clearly a large chuck of the Carnival profit for this type of cruise would be from bar sales. There were many groups of birthdays, bucks, hens and other celebrations and some people were having a bit too much. We found it a little odd that being on the ship seemed to be a great place for some of these groups to get a bit plastered, especially as the majority were drinking responsibly. However, as one of the cruise comedians put it, the afternoon drinkers look like they are going to get really messy but by 7 p.m. they are generally tucked up in bed

Decided to find out if we were cruisers... it seems we are, sort of…

Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by Essexboy999

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2019
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Extended Balcony
Decided to find out why Australia loves cruises so much at the moment. So, we took the plunge and went on our first cruise. Would it be our last?

Overview: We booked on a “special” offered by Carnival. As it turned out we seemed to have got a great deal as our special turned out to be an upgraded room and also instant Carnival Red Status (this may have been as we called Carnival to ask a few queries prior to the cruise and the lady in the US was excellent and was eager to help out).

Boarded early at 11:30 on Friday. We found embarkation to be surprisingly quick and efficient. However, we did see from the ship that there were longer queues as the day progressed. Departed right on time at 4 p.m. Leaving Sydney Harbour on a big ship was on my wife’s “to do” list so this was excellent. Sydney is a magnificent harbour and we were lucky that the weather held just enough to make it spectacular.

We then spent Saturday and Sunday at sea as you cruise up the Australian East coast. Monday morning, we were up early at 5:30 a.m. to see the return trip into the harbour. Again, this was worth getting up for albeit the sun had not really woken up yet to greet us. The ship docked at 6:30 a.m. and by this time the sun had begun to shine through. We were fortunate (for us anyway) to be assigned to a later disembarkation time meaning we could watch the arrival into port, go back to the room and shower and have breakfast and a coffee and not have to rush anywhere or stand in any long queues.

Weather: Friday was overcast. Saturday was overcast, rainy and a little breezy causing some methodical rocking of the boat but nothing too dramatic. Only real downside with this is that everybody is inside making it feel a little cramped and busy onboard. Sunday saw the sun come out and change the whole mood of the ship and the feeling of space increased dramatically as people spread out into the open sunny areas on deck.

Room: The room was far more spacious than we expected. It is a little dated but was more than adequate, especially as we did not really spend much time in the room. The balcony was also a usable size which came as a bit of a surprise and was a great place to sit and have some quiet time. There was also plenty of storage space.

Only a couple of issues for us. The pillows were really, really soft. The walls are not the thickest. One room above us had people in it who were up early each day and would be stomping around the cabin. It was a bit annoying and inconsiderate. Similar with those getting back to their rooms early in the morning and staggering along the corridors talking a lot louder than they realise. Life on a ship I guess.

Food Stations: Better than expected but we did not have high hopes in this department. There certainly is enough for everyone and many people seemed to enjoy (no really, really enjoy) the unlimited freedom to eat almost non-stop through the day. Food stations ranged from the beer absorbing pie and snag station to a very tasty and healthy salad bar. Did seem to be something for everyone. There was also a dessert bar and unlimited self-serve cones in vanilla and chocolate. A number of the food stations are around the pool area so you could swim, drink and listen to the DJ/watch movies.

Main Dining: For a slightly more sedate experience we dined at the main restaurant in the evenings to enjoy their 3 course dinners. On two of the three nights we found the food to be very tasty and of a good quality. However, the Mexican theme night seemed to be a bit lazy. The flavour was fine, but it was really just the same as the Mexican food station out by the pool and certainly not up to the standard of a good quality Mexican restaurant.

Each evening we had a bottle of wine with our dinner (at extra cost). The wine was reasonably priced with a relatively small wine list trying to cover most tastes.

We had lunch in the dining room on one of the days and it was by far and away our worst meal of the cruise. A couple of the dishes presented did not accurately represent the words on the menu which was odd.

Also, there is a fine dining restaurant for an additional surcharge of $55 per person but we did not feel the need to try it.

Bars and Casino: There are plenty of places to get a drink. Everything from a piano bar to a pub and sports bar type places. And for a captive market they were reasonably priced. 500ml can of Heineken A$8.5. Most cocktails were around the A$13 mark. There was a “cruise special” full drink double for A$5. In other words, a double JD and (double) coke was approx. $13 but 2 JD and cokes were $18. There was a reasonable selection of spirits depending on which bar you were in.

There was a lot of people drinking a lot of grog. Clearly a large chuck of the Carnival profit for this type of cruise would be from bar sales. There were many groups of birthdays, bucks, hens and other celebrations and some people were having a bit too much. We found it a little odd that being on the ship seemed to be a great place for some of these groups to get a bit plastered, especially as the majority were drinking responsibly. However, as one of the cruise comedians put it, the afternoon drinkers look like they are going to get really messy but by 7 p.m. they are generally tucked up in bed
Essexboy999’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Extended Balcony
Cabin 8K
Room: The room was far more spacious than we expected. It is a little dated but was more than adequate, especially as we did not really spend much time in the room. The balcony was also a usable size which came as a bit of a surprise and was a great place to sit and have some quiet time. There was also plenty of storage space.

Only a couple of issues for us. The pillows were really, really soft. The walls are not the thickest. One room above us had people in it who were up early each day and would be stomping around the cabin. It was a bit annoying and inconsiderate. Similar with those getting back to their rooms early in the morning and staggering along the corridors talking a lot louder than they realise. Life on a ship I guess.
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