First time cruisers!: Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by hounddogz

Carnival Spirit 4
Member Since 2010
74 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

First time cruisers!

Sail Date: September 2011
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
We flew in from Edmonton Alberta, the day before our cruise. We stayed at the Long Beach Marriott which was very nice, and visited the Aquarium of the Pacific with our free afternoon before the cruise.

When we arrived at the port, the line up just to hand luggage to the porters was horrendous! My husband has muscular dystrophy, and while he is mobile to a point, standing in line for over an hour would have been impossible. The head guy of the porters told us there was nothing he could do (seriously, the guy was a jerk) and told us to line up. A very nice porter took pity on us and took our luggage from us as soon as the boss jerk turned away.
Once inside the terminal, we were told our ship itinerary had changed - no problem for us, and it does say in the small print that they reserve the right to do this. We were told to take a number and a seat...thankfully we were able to get into the special assistance line up as soon as our number was called. It took about another hour More to get on board the ship after this. This was (I am told) an awful embarkation and not the norm - but it's all in the attitude, go with the flow, you can't change it so smile :O)
Once on board we were able to access our stateroom within 10 mins (luggage arrived a couple of hours later). The stateroom was wonderful, bigger than normal rooms with an extended balcony. Our room steward Florin kept it looking beautiful, with towel creations, twice daily service, and constant ice in the bucket! We headed up to the lido deck for lunch ...what a nightmare, so many hungry frenzied people! On our next cruise we are going to head to a bar for a quiet drink and eat later!
We dined at both the lido and the main dining room - the food at the buffet was good, if a little repetitious, the dining room food was good, to very good at times and the service was wonderful! The only issue we had with the food is the relative lack of if you are like us, bring some hot sauce along!!
Stu the cruise director was loud, annoying and ever present on the ship's pa, but as the days went past, he grew on us, and we found him to be both entertaining and informative. I did hear many people mimicking him throughout the cruise which was amusing!
The smoking on balconies was a pain at first, but after a few days I didn't really notice it anymore.
We did excursions at Ensenada, Manzanillo and Cabo ...with the exception of Cabo, the excursions were value for money.
Debarkation was easy, we had a bus booked to take us to LAX , this was seamless. I felt sorry for the folk trying to get a taxi, the line up was very long.
All in all, we had a fabulous time, we are booked (suprise birthday gift for hubby) on a 4 day to Santa Catalina and Ensenda next May and then for a 7 day Carribean to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel in November 2012 ...214 and 413 days respectively....and counting!!!!! Less

Published 10/16/11

Cabin review: 9B6729 Premium Balcony

Cabin was huge! ample closet and drawer space. Very quiet, even though it was located behind the elevators! We never heard anyone outside! The balcony was huuuuge, with two chairs, a lounger and a coffee table.

Read All Premium Balcony (9B) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Such a pretty place! The ship docks adjacent to the rock arches, so the view is spectacular. You have to tender off the ship here - the tender ride is nice and breezy, and takes about 15 mins or so. We took an excursion to a glass blowing factory, a restaurant for a beer and a cactus place. To be honest, i thought the excursion was a rip off - The glass blowing factory was very cool and that was about it. The restaurant was also nice, but lining to get a your free beer or pop while looking at the ocean from another view point was not my idea of an excursion. I didn't get off of the bus at the cactus place ...lots of people didn't. We spent a little time on the dock when we returned, went in a very cool store to buy souvenirs and then went into senor frogs for a drink. BIG MISTAKE!! We asked for a daquiri and a margarita...which were delivered in souvenir glasses, and cost over $30 for the two. While we were there, a whistle blowing server, poured three shots down my husbands throat, massaged his head, tweeked his nipples and charged hin $10! ...I shouldn't of laughed, because then she tweeked my nippples...yes, this was the first AND last senor frog visit!!

We took a bus tour to La Bufadora, a natural blowhole about an hour ride away from the port. We got to wander down a street full of vendors plying their trinkets, they were of course eager for business, but not as aggressive as those in other ports. Take 50c with you to use the restroom!! The fish tacos near the bus parking lots were amazing!! There is a small market just in the cruise port, and couple of vendors selling tequila.
Read 416 Ensenada Reviews

I loved this port. It is not yet overrun with commercialism for toursits, and makes for a very peaceful destination. As you pull into port, the industry is visible, with smoke stacks pluming into the sky. This is Mexico's major industrial port, and to be honest it was nice to see 'real' stuff instead of Senor Frogs and the usual portside hawkers. We were greeted by the locals when we got off of the ship, a group of school children wanted to high five us all (not sure why they were brought to the port but they were cute) and local people handed fresh baked goods to cruisers. We took a tour to the pyramids, and La Comina. The tour lasted 6 hrs and Roberto our tour guide (a geography professor) was informative and entertaining.

We did not book an excursion for this port - in hindsight I wish we had! We did get off of the ship and wandered to the local mall and walmart ( how often do you get to travel to walmart by ship) The touts at the terminal were horrendous, trying to get you into taxis, or to buy stuff in their stores ...I kinda like to be left alone after saying no thank you ...but I guess that's how they get their business. Not much to say about this port because we didn't really do time we will book an excursion.
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Member Since 2010
74 Forum Posts
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