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Carnival Spirit Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,126 Reviews

All good for first cruise - will go with Carnival again but would change things

Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by nicolepuleleech

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2020
  • Destination: the South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Aft-View Extended Balcony

I chose Carnival cruise because it was a family fun holiday ship. Overall cruise was great.

Ship was great. Staff were great. Entertainment was fantastic. Art auctions were great. Food was fine and at times great.

Grumps and don't bother with:

Don't pay for the priority boarding. You get on the ship fast enough when you first board and when you disembark. As for propriety boarding on day trips if you pay for tours it cancels out your priority boarding. It only applies on on the boat shuttles if you are not doing an organised ship tour and it will only apply for your trip out to shore. It won't cover you for getting back to the boat so this is when you will want it to really work and it won't. We had a 1 hour wait from Akora to get back to the ship. The last water shuttle deadline was at 5:15pm. We didn't clear the line to get on the shuttle boat until about 5:30pm and I reckon about 300 - 400 people queued up on the jetty panicking the ship was going to leave them behind. The ship waited for all passengers to get on board. SO NOT WORTH PAYING FOR priority boarding.

The internet is a 50 - 50 thing to get. If you need to post, contact people via social media or keep updated on what's going on back home then you need to get it. Would suggest you get the value pack as the internet is slow and at times won't work at all. It is user number dependent meaning the more people online the slower the internet will work. Would suggest you get your children their own internet package for their device as it is a one device at a time package. This will cause fights in the cabin for sure.

The main milk is soy and dairy in the buffet areas - so anything special is difficult to get on the ship apart from the dining room or cafe.

There is only 1 Australian and USA powerpoint in the cabin which is so close to the bench top that you cant fit a power pack in. It is low voltage 220 Volts. There is a powerpoint in the bathroom for shavers but it is USA input only. Why??

Don't upgrade to the back of the boat or upper high decks unless you are a seasoned cruiser with a strong stomach for rough seas. Best to get a room higher than level 3 and lower than level 5 and always be mid ship not back or front of boat unless you want to be tossed around in your cabin or you are up for sling shot sleeping all night during open ocean days. NOT WORTH THE EXTRA MONEY TO BE GREEN FOR MOST OF THE TRIP.

Make sure you get to all shows, trivia and other events at least 30 mins early.

Lunches on shore excursions ARE a big issue. You can't take food off the boat. You can buy drinks of water before you leave the boat. GET THEM. As it may be hours before you can get food or drink on your tour. Be aware that meals or mealtime included in your tour. It was a big issue on 1 of our tours and we were very light headed and thirsty by the end of the tour - did not eat until 3pm and it was only a basic lunch.

Self tours beware you will be up for heaps of walking so make sure you can walk well and you have the local taxi number on hand. Many taxi companies wont take your booking for short rides and some of these places only have a few taxis in the area and difficult to hail from the side of the road.

If you are at the back of the boat watch out as towards the end of the cruise (about 2 days left of it) you will experience a bad sewerage smell, which makes it impossible for you to go out on you back deck. iF you open the balcony door the smell will get into your cabin and is difficult to get rid of quickly. It is putrid enough to make you want to vomit if you smell it. Housekeeping said the filters on the sewerage tanks get full towards the end of the trip and they don't change them until they finish the cruise.

Grump of the day is the lack of passengers tipping the housekeeping and dining room staff. It really was shameful to see that so many passengers did not tip their staff for the amazing work they did for them on the cruise. Going minimum tipping rates are:

Housekeeping - $50 AUD

Waiting Staff dining room only - $20 AUD each (you will have up to 3 staff you will need to tip here)

Drinks waiter dining room only - $10 AUD (you should only have 1 of these and this is for the alcohol dining waiter)

that's about all we would suggest you tip.

Beware if cruise photographers they will take great pics of you and your family throughout the cruise each day. When you go to pick them up they will charge you top dollar for these pics and the package deal is expensive. There were pics I wanted but we left them all behind on the ship as the cost of the photos was overpriced. You will need minimum $1000 AUD to do a small photobook. Just take your own pictures and get a book done through somewhere like Big W where it will cost you under $50 AUD

Art auction - beware most of the paintings you are bidding on are limited edition prints done in various ways. The one off paintings are limited and makes sure you check before you bid or buy if it is a one off painting or a run in a series of prints. IF you are going

Quality of products in the on ship shops. I think you have to be careful what you buy from shops on board. I purchased a beach back and the zip broke on it the next day. The souvenirs are for a country you are not travelling to which is pointless and annoying. Watch the prices. Especially the jewelry. Also check the quality.

Be aware if you have the bubbles program you are only covered for over the bar, dining room and Showtime areas. Room service, drinks for onshore excursions and specialty bars you will not covered. you will have to pay.

Cheers to Carnival cruise and make sure you do:

Entertainment is fantastic don’t miss a show and try and get to comedy hour also.

Trivia quizzes are fun so be sure to do some

Staff are amazing across the entire ship. 10 out of 10 for service and efforts they all go to for you and for friendliness.

Rooms are kept clean

Keep an eye on your spending and have fun.

nicolepuleleech's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Aft-View Extended Balcony

a little dated in decor, only 1 Australian power point too close to bench, No support rails in shower. Did have 1 for the toilet which you need to hang on to if sea is rough. Lighting Good, Stewards excellent. Towel animals are amazing and fantastic. Plenty of storage. Ship communicated well with cabins through notices in your room inbox, chairs could be more comfortable. Limited number. Fridge had no shelves. Room was secure and comfortable. Overall really happy. Would like to see rooms updated especially high end rooms including dona coverings and prints. Some small cushions would be good on the bed. Bed was comfortable thank you.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Larnach Castle

Quick tour of Dunedin and then up to the Castle. Castle still being restored, but some very interesting stories about the family and the interior of the house was excellent. Unfortunately as lunch not included in time allowed, we had to take time out of looking at the rooms and gardens to eat. Could have done with an hour extra as we missed out on several rooms and the entire gardens.

View All 36 Larnach Castle Reviews

Dropped off in Christchurch with opportunity to walk around the the City centre. An enjoyable excursion within walking distance of market, Art Gallery, Museum etc. Will be better when the Ship can stop at a harbour closer although the drive from Akaroa to Christchurch offered fantastic sights and the driver was excellent in knowledge.

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Te Papa Museum

Museum was great but tour guide spoilt experience: left tour and looked on our own. Only had time to see one section as, again, lunch allowance not included. The ship stayed in port until 5, but the bus left at 1 - giving little time.

View All 28 Te Papa Museum Reviews

By far the best experience. The wildlife sanctuary in the centre of Wellington is brilliant - the bird life, tuatara and plants were fascinating, the guide was excellent and the whole experience was uplifting. If you don't do anything else, do this one.

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