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Itinerary: 12/6 - 12/10; San Diego, to Cabo San Lucas (for the day), and back to San Diego. Mas: The service (mostly); Nouveau Steakhouse. Mas o Menos: The food Menos: The constant sales pitches; lousy TV; no bar food?! I will start with my rave reviews. Our waiter, Melvin, and our stateroom steward, Hery, were excellent. Lighthearted conversational exchanges, and serious attention to good service, describe my experience of them. They were a joy. My second rave goes to the Nouveau Steakhouse. I had brought a bottle of champagne to enjoy, which the staff had placed in an ice bucket, at our table and ready to go. A nice touch. The service was impeccable: attentive, but not hovering. The only demerit was that the dress code, stressed to me when I made our reservation, was apparently overlooked for a neighboring table, the diners at which had donned logo T-shirts, jeans and tennis shoes for their steakhouse evening. That one glitch aside, the food was delicious, across the board. I give an extra thumbs-up for my porterhouse steak, which was tender and done to medium-rare perfection, and my wife's surf and turf was equally delightful (according to her; I was way to busy with my giant porterhouse to steal a bite). Eating at the steakhouse, while an extra expense that I dithered about spending, was worth every penny. Now to the not-so-good. "Raffle" is a code word for "sales pitch," on this vessel. We put our names in for the spa raffle, and the process was interminable, with constant punctuations of descriptions of spa and gym services. It was an investment of 30 minutes, all told, for nothing more than a discounted massage and facial for my wife. Most of the service on-board was very good, but there was one glaring exception. My wife was allowed in to the dining room on the third morning, along with two other diners, right at the cut-off time (10:00, I think). It was stressed to her that the kitchen would close soon, so she ordered for me. This was all well and good, but the staff proceeded to serve us with uncharacteristic indifference. When one of the other diners at our table said, in a very nice way, that she wasn't happy with her eggs, I had to step in to let the waiter know that she should get them re-cooked to her satisfaction. I requested a bagel, and without having chosen what kind, had a toasted bagel more or less dumped on my plate. Coffee wasn't refilled without request.... My feeling is that, if one is seated, one is not unreasonable in expecting solicitous service. I mean, the food is not great; it's the service that makes dining enjoyable. Which brings me to the food. Other than the steakhouse, the food was just so-so, on the Spirit--often tepid and not well seasoned. The eggs over easy were good, as was the Indian fare I ate on the first night. Across the board, the desserts were too sweet and/or otherwise failed (WAY too much caramelized sugar on the creme brulee; no flame on my cherries jubilee), and the bread was often stale and not offered often enough. And what's with no bar food? Not even nuts or pretzels? Frankly, I would have bought more drinks if I'd been able to snack while I was at it. My last "menos": the lousy TV. It was an old box TV, not a flat-screen, but, more than that, it was IMPOSSIBLY slow. The interactive menus were a joke. I only tried one time to deal with that "offering." The regular TV was OK, but only OK: response was slow, and channel selection sucked. No ESPN, and hardly any stations. I ended up watching the movies we'd brought, and the GPS station showing the ship's progress. I don't think I'll be cruising again. It was a fair amount of money for less than I'd expected. Plus, there's the sea to contend with. While the trip to Cabo was really nice, seas got heavier and heavier on the way back, to the point where the show was canceled and there were sick bags placed around the ship. Frankly, I'd rather be on land...or on a sailboat. :)

Underwhelmed

Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by MrHedge

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2010
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Balcony (obstructed views)
Itinerary: 12/6 - 12/10; San Diego, to Cabo San Lucas (for the day), and back to San Diego.



Mas: The service (mostly); Nouveau Steakhouse.



Mas o Menos: The food



Menos: The constant sales pitches; lousy TV; no bar food?!





I will start with my rave reviews. Our waiter, Melvin, and our stateroom steward, Hery, were excellent. Lighthearted conversational exchanges, and serious attention to good service, describe my experience of them. They were a joy.



My second rave goes to the Nouveau Steakhouse. I had brought a bottle of champagne to enjoy, which the staff had placed in an ice bucket, at our table and ready to go. A nice touch. The service was impeccable: attentive, but not hovering. The only demerit was that the dress code, stressed to me when I made our reservation, was apparently overlooked for a neighboring table, the diners at which had donned logo T-shirts, jeans and tennis shoes for their steakhouse evening. That one glitch aside, the food was delicious, across the board. I give an extra thumbs-up for my porterhouse steak, which was tender and done to medium-rare perfection, and my wife's surf and turf was equally delightful (according to her; I was way to busy with my giant porterhouse to steal a bite). Eating at the steakhouse, while an extra expense that I dithered about spending, was worth every penny.



Now to the not-so-good. "Raffle" is a code word for "sales pitch," on this vessel. We put our names in for the spa raffle, and the process was interminable, with constant punctuations of descriptions of spa and gym services. It was an investment of 30 minutes, all told, for nothing more than a discounted massage and facial for my wife.



Most of the service on-board was very good, but there was one glaring exception. My wife was allowed in to the dining room on the third morning, along with two other diners, right at the cut-off time (10:00, I think). It was stressed to her that the kitchen would close soon, so she ordered for me. This was all well and good, but the staff proceeded to serve us with uncharacteristic indifference. When one of the other diners at our table said, in a very nice way, that she wasn't happy with her eggs, I had to step in to let the waiter know that she should get them re-cooked to her satisfaction. I requested a bagel, and without having chosen what kind, had a toasted bagel more or less dumped on my plate. Coffee wasn't refilled without request....



My feeling is that, if one is seated, one is not unreasonable in expecting solicitous service. I mean, the food is not great; it's the service that makes dining enjoyable.



Which brings me to the food. Other than the steakhouse, the food was just so-so, on the Spirit--often tepid and not well seasoned. The eggs over easy were good, as was the Indian fare I ate on the first night. Across the board, the desserts were too sweet and/or otherwise failed (WAY too much caramelized sugar on the creme brulee; no flame on my cherries jubilee), and the bread was often stale and not offered often enough.



And what's with no bar food? Not even nuts or pretzels? Frankly, I would have bought more drinks if I'd been able to snack while I was at it.



My last "menos": the lousy TV. It was an old box TV, not a flat-screen, but, more than that, it was IMPOSSIBLY slow. The interactive menus were a joke. I only tried one time to deal with that "offering." The regular TV was OK, but only OK: response was slow, and channel selection sucked. No ESPN, and hardly any stations. I ended up watching the movies we'd brought, and the GPS station showing the ship's progress.



I don't think I'll be cruising again. It was a fair amount of money for less than I'd expected. Plus, there's the sea to contend with. While the trip to Cabo was really nice, seas got heavier and heavier on the way back, to the point where the show was canceled and there were sick bags placed around the ship. Frankly, I'd rather be on land...or on a sailboat. :)
MrHedge’s Full Rating Summary
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