15 Miami Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews

After much research and based on the itinerary we desired, my wife and I booked the 3/6 sailing on the Carnival Spirit. The ship leaves from Miami and the ports included St. Martin, Barbados and Martinique. Our five previous cruises were ... Read More
After much research and based on the itinerary we desired, my wife and I booked the 3/6 sailing on the Carnival Spirit. The ship leaves from Miami and the ports included St. Martin, Barbados and Martinique. Our five previous cruises were all on Royal Caribbean and we wanted to try something different. Embarkation and disembarkation were the best we have ever experienced. We arrived at the dock about noon for the Saturday departure and we were in our cabin within a half hour; it was amazing. Leaving the ship was also painless as passengers are allowed to remain in their cabins or in many large designated public areas until their turn to leave. On previous cruises, passengers were herded into small public areas and the whole process seemed crowded, hot and frustrating; major kudos to Carnival for a job well done in this area. Our cabin on the Panorama Deck was typical of a balcony suite on many newer ships and it was clean, comfortable and ready for us when we boarded early. Naturally the cabin service is luck of the draw and completely dependant upon the person assigned to your section. We were fortunate and our cabin person was attentive, friendly and always there if we needed something; he also respected our privacy if we wanted it. We were very pleased with this aspect of our first experience with Carnival. On this ship, the service for the cabin and dinning attendants is added to your bill but in no way was the service compromised by this feature. I did sense however, that the attendants were looking for extra money at the end of the cruise and I suspect that within a few years, an extra payment will become customary. We enjoy casino activity and once again the Spirit deserves some complimentary comments. The casino staff is professional and very friendly; they were also patient with those guests that needed help with some of the table games. The slots were relatively loose for a cruise ship and between my wife and I, we won about $1,000, which I unfortunately donated back at the craps table throughout the week. We were also pleased with the mix of passengers on this sailing, which included mostly Americans, Canadians and English. Because of the sailing dates and the 8 day length of the cruise, there were few children, teenagers and spring breakers. The entertainment was a mixed bag. A few of the production shows featured the ship's dancers and were fairly good. On one night however, the main show consisted of the best of the Karaoke performers and this didn't seem to be the type of entertainment one would expect to pay for on a cruise. The "fly in" acts were also decent, as were the lounge performers. Overall however, entertainment on the RCL ships was much better. My final comment is on the food service, which falls into two main categories. For the most part, the stand in line, "cafeteria style" restaurant called La Playa Grill, was actually quite good and much better than RCL. The food was fresh, tasty and the menu varied daily; the coffee was a 1000% better than the reconstituted stuff RCL serves. Unfortunately, dinner in the evening was a much different experience. This ship served the absolute worst food we have ever had on any cruise. The food was poorly presented, of inferior quality and completely tasteless. The meat was loaded with either tenderizers or MSG (or both) and the fish entrEes had no taste and several definitely did not seem fresh. The most disappointing part of the dinner experience was the disparity between the description of the food on the menus and what you actually received. One appetizer was described as "topped with caviar" and when it arrived, there were only two microscopic caviar eggs on it. The food and service of the alternative dinning option at $25 per person were both excellent; had I known how bad the food was going to be, I would have reserved a table for each evening of the cruise. As far as port excursions are concerned, with a very few exceptions where safety could be an issue, you are far better off negotiating a sightseeing tour with a local taxi driver. Not only is this a less expensive alternative to the ship's excursions, but you will get to enjoy the exact same sites at your own pace. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Hello fellow cruisers: After a long winter in Toronto we were really looking forward to taking our long awaited vacation. We finally drove down to Miami florida, we parked our van at the pier parking, Unfortunately we had to pay cash as ... Read More
Hello fellow cruisers: After a long winter in Toronto we were really looking forward to taking our long awaited vacation. We finally drove down to Miami florida, we parked our van at the pier parking, Unfortunately we had to pay cash as the credit card machines were not available. The embarkation procedure was very good also we did arrive at noon for our 4 p.m. departure. The ship was absolutely fantastic, super clean and very big with a beautiful atrium. After checking out the ship with my wife we headed to the lido deck for some lunch, and guess what the food was great they had pizza and various other meals such as Deli, burgers etc. The first supper was great beautiful dining room and great service and what can we say about the food it was great. Those so called professional critics can moan all they want about the food not being like some stuffy restaurant they're use to, but the food and service was excellent every night. P.S. the same applies to the entertainment. This particular cruise went to Belize,the cave tubing was great but there was not much in the souvenir dept. Next port was Costa-Rica which was very beautiful, here we went to the Sloth sanctuary good tour much better souvenirs, such as coffee, wood work. Panama was our last port country was dirty but the tours were good and duty free even better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Dining: we were served a lobster dinner( on captains night) that had been served to another guest and had been eaten of off already.Our servers were very forgetful.When approached with problems of service the maitre D ( Manuel) seemed to ... Read More
Dining: we were served a lobster dinner( on captains night) that had been served to another guest and had been eaten of off already.Our servers were very forgetful.When approached with problems of service the maitre D ( Manuel) seemed to want to solve the problem by firing or removing the people involved.The assistant Maitre D,Kerry( from Australia) was more helpful then her counter part.Over all the service teamed Sucked( except Kerry). On the Beef wellington night(the fourth night) we yet got another plate that had been taken out to another persons table,was not eaten off of but was covered up ,again and then served to my husband as " done the way he wanted it" when I told Newman( our server) he said that there was nothing wrong with it and told him to take it back and bring us fresh. The purser: Does not Know how to do any customer recovery at all. She basically said that we are liers.When we went to her to deal with the food problem and bring to her attention the flies in the Lido deck rest. she did nothing at all to fix it.She was very rude. When I told her that this is nothing a bottle of champagne or wine is going to fix. I later go a letter sent to my cabin letting us know" as a small apology token we will be given a complimentary bottle of wine" gotta love they way she listens... Our Room: well this really set the mood for the whole cruise...Our welcome aboard package consisted of two rolls of rolaids,one container of dental floss and a small tube of tooth paste.We didn't even have a bar of soap till we asked for one at 8:00pm.we got 3 towel animals until we finally complained to the pursers desk that didn't give a Damn!Our beds could have been made better by our 7 year old son. The entertainment: Was far inferior to Royal Caribbean our other cruise on the paradise( another CCL)there was very little to do.Alot of Bingo but not to much other stuff.On Royal we were running from end to middle to end of the ship to fit in everything they had to offer.not so with Carnival.Too much comedy not enough Las Vegas style shows. Lots of stuff to do on deck but most of it was geared to the younger people( 21 years and younger). Over all we were really disappointed,considering that this was suppose to be a make up cruise from the mistakes that were made on the paradise( food allergy and Sars test daily( after all we were in Toronto Canada for 20 minute ( eeh gad!!!) ,No tall Rye and coke allowed).There was nothing done to keep us coming back. When we called to complain yet after another cruise we were offer 15% off our next Carnival cruise.After refusing that we were then sent on to a supervisor that was able to offer us a whopping 20% off a 100.00 sail and sign credit per person and a welcome aboard gift( good lord could it be another bottle of champagne).Considering the serious nature of the Lobster dinner episode, a free cruise would have been a great gesture from the company ( not going to happen) If we were asked we would definitely NOT recommend Carnival to ANYONE. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Well we can call this the good ,the bad and the very ugly. The good Assitant MatreD Kerry from Australia,she was very help full when dealing with some of the problems we had while on board. The shore excursions were really nice( too long ... Read More
Well we can call this the good ,the bad and the very ugly. The good Assitant MatreD Kerry from Australia,she was very help full when dealing with some of the problems we had while on board. The shore excursions were really nice( too long in Barbados though)great snorkeling in st martens and Martinique( watch out for the little jelly fish) The Bad...The cabin steward was very lazy did nothing to earn a tip .Our welcome aboard package consisted of 1 tube of toothpaste 1 roll of dental floss and 2 rolls of rolaids while other got razors white strips shampoo etc.Our bed could have been made better by our 7 year old son.No bar of soap till we asked for one at 8:00 at night. The pursers desk did not handle our concerns well at all.i told her a bottle of wine or champagne was not going to solve the problem.I got a letter sent to my cabin from her telling because of the problems we have had that she had arranged for a free bottle of wine for us for dinner( SHE REALLY LISTENED WELL EH!!!) The head Maitre D ( Manuel) seemed to think that to solve the problem you fire the people (not true) or you move them to another table,well that will solve a lot won't it,the server can bring the same problems to that table. THE REALLY REALLY UGLY On captains night( Lobster night) we watched as or head waiter picked a plate of food from the server that had been put back there from another table.When it was served to my husband and the cover lifted off,it was clearly obvious that someone had already eaten off of it.when I told (Nyuman) our head waiter he tried to convince me that ,that is what they look like.I told him to take it back and bring fresh.Not only did this set the mood for us but IT HAPPENED AGAIN .Two days later ( beef wellington night) we got a plate that had been taken to a table and was cooked wrong so they put it back on the server tray and my husband ordered his Medium. Nyman again brought this plate to our table and said this went to somebody else that wanted her done more well but this is the way you wanted yours so you can have it.I told him to forget it take it back and bring fresh. Our Matre D Manuel continued to harass us after this to make sure everything was OK. I know he was just doing his job but give us a few minutes in between bites to decide if we are really enjoying our food before you ask again. We had to serve our selves drink on the appreciation get together for people who have cruised carnival before.BEWARE once you order a pop card your service will be all self serve.. In the Lido cafe restaurant there is flys all over the place.on the fruit sculptures and the cheese and meat trays. In Closing: this was suppose to be a cruise to recover from the problems we had aboard the smokefree paradise.we were given 15% off the cruise but after calling head office we were again offered only the 15% off until asked to talk to a supervisor I told her that I would be in contact with the united states health dept.She then offer us 20% each off our next cruise and 100.00 p/p credit on our sale and sign cards and a welcome aboard gift( I won't be getting a bottle that's for sure) If we had to make a choice to cruise carnival again I would absolutely NOT recommend them and would go ROYAL CARIBBEAN. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We went on the Carnival Spirit Southern Itinerary on February 19 through February 27, 2004. We absolutely loved this cruise and this ship. We are a family of 9 (mom, dad, aunt and 6 teenagers) The Spirit is a lovely ship. I love the dEcor. ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Spirit Southern Itinerary on February 19 through February 27, 2004. We absolutely loved this cruise and this ship. We are a family of 9 (mom, dad, aunt and 6 teenagers) The Spirit is a lovely ship. I love the dEcor. In my opinion she is more tasteful and less gaudy than other Carnival ships I have been on. But let me back up and start at the beginning... This was a last minute vacation for us (2 weeks prior to sail date). I got a great price on 3 category 8G from cruise.com We flew out of Boston (Logan) to Miami (International Airport) on 2/18. We got non-stop flights on American Airlines for $186.00 roundtrip per person, an excellent deal! Unfortunately American Airlines misplaced our luggage (13 pieces for 9 of us) Along with about 100 other passengers. It was stressful. Many people were very upset, but what can you do? The language and attitude of a few of my fellow passengers horrified me. The agents at American Airlines were terrific, they put up with a lot of crap from angry travelers when it was not their fault that someone in Boston did not load the bags. We were in line to fill out the missing luggage paperwork and decided to leave and handle it over the phone. We found our driver, went to the Radisson (nice 3 star hotel, but room service was lousy) and I decided we better get some rest in case we have to get up early and shop for some cruise-wear. Hotel: I got 4 rooms at the Miami Radisson for only $35.00 per room on Priceline. I hired transfers from Miami Center Transportation from the airport to the Radisson and then the following day to the Port for $11.00 per person total. We eventually went back to the Airport and got our luggage around noontime the next day. We got to the Port around 1PM and pull right up in front where very large men grabbed our bags for us and put them in the cage to be brought on board. (We tip of course, my husband is an especially generous tipper. Where I try to save money on the big-ticket items he gladly gives it away to the people who assist us and this works great for us.) We then go up the escalator and see no line at all. This was weird but we went along, showed ID's put our carry-ons on the conveyor belt, brought our completed fun pass paper work from the website, got our sail and sign cards and voila we were aboard! This was by far the easiest embarkation ever. As always we stop and get our photo taken. There are many opportunities to have your photo taken and we never pass on one! (As I tell my family "were only getting older...SMILE!") We know Carnival hopes we will go to the photo gallery and buy them and of course we do! We found our cabins easily and were very pleased. The rooms were clean and the decks are large. My daughter was celebrating her 18th birthday and her cabin was decorated and the cake was there already. (We pre-ordered this on line) The layout was very good with plenty of closet space. I am happy to say that the TV programming while still limited has improved somewhat and we were kept up to date with weather and school closings through out Tennessee(?) We did not go on the cruise to watch TV. My kids rented movies a couple of nights. When looking directly down from our cabin we did not see the water, rather we saw the top of the life boats which was fine with me. After viewing our cabin we were off to the LaPLaya Grill for the welcome aboard buffet, yes! This was terrific. The space itself is nice and seating very comfortable sofa style looking out at the ocean. The food was excellent and the variety impressive. We went to the bar and bought us all fountain-soda cards. The kids had a blast on this Ship. They enjoyed the disco and the arcade, 24 hour pizzeria and frozen yogurt, hot tubs, pools, waterslide, gym, room service. There is plenty of public space on this Ship. This Ship never felt crowded. Together my family enjoyed the Pharaoh's Lounge: bingo, dance classes, game shows, karaoke, chess on lido and Arts & Crafts. The comedy shows were very good Timm something was hilarious. At midnight the comedians get more "adult". The song and dance Shows were good. They no longer have the Guest Talent Show rather the Carnival Legends Show that is just glorified karaoke. They let the singers do more than one song and gave the band and the hired help the night off. It was OK but not nearly as fun guest talent shows where you might have the occasional magician or ventriloquist. On to dining... We never did make it to Noveaus Supper Club but everyone told us how excellent it was but it takes 2 and a half to 3 hours. We had late seating Empire table 211 all 9 of us at one table. The food was very good and the service was outstanding. The dining room was lovely. The Maitre d' was great and the waiters sang and danced, it was really fun. Our team was Agipito and Reynold. They put up with a lot from my crew, which they handled with grace. My kids loved these guys. The last night of the cruise the kids gave them funny cards and artwork and wrote thank you notes. The waiters taught them all napkin folding and magic tricks. They sang Happy Birthday to our daughter who turned 18 and our waiter Agipito did a solo the last night. My husband and I enjoyed the Casino and Gym. In the past there were a lot more waiters working the Casino and the lounges, it was kind of cut-throat because they are all working for tips. Now there are fewer and you actually have to go looking for a drink. The Casino was large, the slots very tights but we made a bit at the tables (3 card poker and Caribbean stud) I meet the nicest people on cruises and this was no exception. There were many fewer teens on this ship, I think because it sailed Thursday through Friday (8 nights) We all loved the Cruise Director "Michael" He was fun, lively and really enjoys his work. His wife is a blast too. Itinerary: We had never been to these ports before. I liked the fact that each port had a dock no tenders! Excursions.... In St. Marteen we took the water taxi ($5.00 roundtrip) over to the beach. We went to everything Cool Beach. It was fun and hot. We bought the excursion through Carnival for $25.00 each. But next time I will just go there in my own. For the $25.00 you have to walk or get your own transportation to the beach. You get a beach mat and use of the trampoline raft, a hot dog lunch, 2 drinks and use of the changing room and out door spicket shower. You also get a $10.00 casino voucher, don't be fooled it is really 2 $5.00 match play coupons and even though we bought 9 excursions with 18 $5.00 coupons, we could only use 2 per day. We rented umbrellas and chairs ($10.00 gets you 2 chairs and one umbrella) and jet-ski's. The jet-ski's were awesome. There is some great cheap souvenir shopping on the street directly behind the beach. This is a public beach and the hawkers are very aggressive. In Barbados we had no excursion planned so my husband hired a driver "Gary" who took us around and brought us to an old church, the highest point where we beheld the fables green monkey and the Caves. The Caves were great, the kids really loved them. Then we wanted to do some shopping so he took us downtown Bridgetown. This was a mistake, everything was closing at 5PM. So we went over to The Boat Yard to get something to eat but turned around and left right away. In my opinion the Boatyard is not a family place. It is a glorified dive bar, which can be fun but not with this young impressionable group. The music was load and not live, it was crowded with 20-somethings and there were not enough seats at the small restaurant. So we went back to the ship, had the place to ourselves and relaxed. In Martinique we had no plans so my husband found a driver "Moses" at the pier. Moses was great and very informative. His bus was large enough for 20 and we were very comfortable. Moses took us to a central market where lots of stalls were set up and tents. It turned out this was Carnival and everything would be closing at noon for a parade and festival. I enjoyed this area. The people were friendly. The merchandise seemed overpriced because they use the Euro but everything was negotiable. Moses left us because he had a previous booking but he sent his nephew "George" who barely spoke English. George was nice and tried to give us the "spoken" tour but we just followed Moses bus. Every now and then they pulled over and told us about the sugar cane or banana trees. The roads were wild and tiny and the views were great. We eventually arrived at the "botanical" part of our tour, which was Moses' driveway. (no kidding) He had a lovely home with an incredible view. He told us of his grandmother's passing at age 106 and how the siblings all got a piece of the land. And how he learned from his grandmother the healing properties of various plants. It was interesting and beautiful. He had puppies, ponies which the kids loved. It was a bit strange but fun. He gave us all homemade rum punch and we were off. We did not go on the distillery tour because of the holiday everything was closing early. We instead got back to the port. Did some shopping and were back on board by 1pm. Our room steward was terrific, his name was Edwin and he took care of us, I miss him. I loved this cruise and the extra day at sea was lovely. Debarkation: Again very easy we stayed in our cabins until around 9am went up to Lido and had a leisurely breakfast while they called various colored luggage tags. Then we were off. Got our luggage and called our driver who was not answering his phone. We had not pre-paid him so my husband struck up a bargain with a driver who spoke English. We took a tour of the Art Deco, South Beach, Little Havana and because it was my daughters birthday she chose our main destinations which were Salvation Army thrift stores and a place called Grub Stake for funky vintage clothes and old shot glasses. We ate at the Hard Rock, which was crappy and overpriced. $300.00 for the 10 of us (driver included) The location of the Hard Rock was great. After eating we walked around the Bayside Marketplace. It has something for everyone plus live music, waterfront seats with great views of yachts coming and going and just people watching. Lots of photo opportunities. If I cruise out of Miami again I certainly will visit this area. It is a great place to kill a few hours. I had the kids pair up and gave them a list for a scavenger hunt. This turned out to be great fun as it sort of forced them to engage with other people. Take a dance lesson, photo of ice sculpture, signature of the fattest Yankee fan, something fishy (and yes the sushi stunk up their cabins ha ha!) etc. I also gave them another contest to get "dad" the tackiest gift under $5.00. This was a lot of fun and a great challenge since there are so many tacky gifts in these ports. We got to the airport in plenty of time, got to Boston by 11PM and was home by 1AM. I am still sleepy and can feel the ocean in my head. Till next time, Enjoy this glorious day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Dates: Feb 11-19/2004. Travelers: My Mother and I Ages: 48 and 19 Number of cruises traveled before: Her-10 Me-6 Ports of Call: Belize, Costa Rica and Panama I received the news of an 8 day cruise to the western Caribbean Christmas Day ... Read More
Dates: Feb 11-19/2004. Travelers: My Mother and I Ages: 48 and 19 Number of cruises traveled before: Her-10 Me-6 Ports of Call: Belize, Costa Rica and Panama I received the news of an 8 day cruise to the western Caribbean Christmas Day as a gift from my parents for Graduation this year and Mother and Daughter bonding time before I go to college in the fall. I was very excited and spent many hours on the internet looking up reviews and learning everything possible about the Carnival Spirit. As I read reviews I learned that everyone either loves the ship or hates it. I never got a better answer over another. I decided when I returned from this vacation that I drooled over for many weeks, I would write my own review. EMBARKATION: In the reviews I read, I came to the understanding that you could board the ship anytime between 11:30-12:30. My Mother and I had an early flight at 7:00am and landed in Miami at 9:46. We went directly to baggage claim where we collected our bags. My Mom then spotted a Carnival staff member. She told us to wait by these seats for only 3 people. Well within 15 minutes the line grew. The staff then told the large group that had formed to follow them single file to the end of baggage claim where we would wait for our shuttle (gray hound bus) to take us to the pier. It turned out we waited in single file up against a wall in baggage claim for 90 minutes with no chairs, drinks, or information what was going to happen next. My recommendation is to take a taxi to the pier, which is cheaper and will take you directly to the ship without the long wait. The taxi costs $18 while the shuttle costs $22. This treatment that my Mother and I received at the airport was VERY different from the treatment we have received on other cruise lines such as Princess and Norwegian. Once we finally got on the bus we had to sit for another 15 minutes while the bus driver loaded the luggage on his own. When we got to the pier we were told to wait on the bus for another 15 minutes while they unloaded the luggage (this was well over 3 hours to get to the pier from the airport when it is a 15 minute drive). Finally we were allowed to get off the bus. But when we did so, we were harassed by the porters to tip them because they said they are not apart of Carnival and this is their way of living and so on. They would not even allow us to touch our luggage until we tipped them and showed them what luggage belonged to us. So we tipped them 3 dollars and called it a day. We walked into the terminal, and my Mother pre registered online. This is a great idea to do because it saves you from the long lines at the terminal. We went and got our sail and sign cards, got our picture taken, and FINALLY walked onto the most spectacular looking ship we have both ever been on. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The ship is spectacular in everyway. It's VERY clean, large and the way it was designed was excellent. All the lounges and so forth were at the bottom while the staterooms were at the top. The atrium is beautiful in everyway. Glass elevators, murals, and the dark wood added to it. We never once thought it was "gaudy" as many people have said it was. We thought the look of it is just beautiful. It's something you don't see everyday. Our stateroom was a category 8B with a balcony. Our cabin was 5215 on the Upper Deck Aft. When we first walked in, there were streamers and balloons hanging from our ceiling as a gift from my Stepfather for both of our birthdays, which are 2 and a 1/2 weeks apart. The balcony is very nice and private. The chairs on the balcony however are Wal-Mart/K-mart lounge chairs 100%. The table is low to the ground. One of the chairs is up high while the other is a recliner close to the ground. The table is too small to enjoy room service for breakfast out on the balcony. The room however is nice and large. Not once did we feel cramped. We had plenty of closet and drawer space. The bathroom is the biggest bathroom I have seen on any cruise ship. It had a huge shower with enough room for all you girls to shave your legs! plus plenty of shelves to put all of your stuff on. In the bathroom they have a mirror that is hung on the wall that moves off the wall and does a close up on your face to either shave or put your makeup on. I used this every night. Our room was equipped with a fridge that you have to ask your room steward to open (it has variety of different things in it, and we asked him if we could put our water in the fridge and he said no problem), a phone, nice large TV, and a safe, which was really interesting. The safe you have to use a card like your VISA card to lock it/open it. Unfortunately your sail and sign card WILL NOT WORK. My Mother and I thought to ourselves "What is the point of locking up your stuff if you have to carry around your credit card in order to lock/open your safe?" Well we used an old bankcard that was in my wallet that has nothing in it, and just hid it in our room. Other than that, we really enjoyed our room. FOOD: We had high expectations of the food since we are use to excellent food/service on previous cruise lines. Well we were VERY disappointed. The food is last nights dinner and today's lunch. Or so it feels. It was nothing at all to brag about. We had certain things that were good, but nothing great. It was a real shame because here we are on this beautiful ship with terrible food. Every morning for breakfast on the Lido Deck, they had the same variety except every other day they would switch from banana and blueberry pancakes to french toast. On the Lido deck, which is the deck for the Buffet, we found this to be a very strange set up. It has about 7 different stations of food. You have to walk from station to station to get your food. By the time you are done waiting in line and moving to the next station, your hot food is now cold. Plus you become disorientated of where you have been because the stations are scattered all through out the deck. However we did enjoy the choices of drinks. Everyday you had a choice of fruit punch, apple juice, lemonade, and iced tea. This was something Princess does not have and we enjoyed it. The best station at the buffet is the New York Style Deli. It was absolutely amazing in every way. In the Empress dining room, we did not receive great service the first 2 nights of our cruise. In fact my Mom had to complain to the Maitre'D. She asked for a certain wine and they gave her the wrong one. She told our waiter 5 times it was not the right wine and it was something else. Well he did not listen, popped the cork and there we had a bottle of the wrong wine! Plus we got no fresh ground pepper for our salads and by the time we were done eating our baked potato there walked over our assistant waiter with the bacon, chives, cheese and sour cream to go on the baked potato. Talk about disappointment. So my Mother complained and the next night we received the RIGHT bottle of wine with a refund of the other wine, and better service which was a lot nicer. The other thing that wasn't so good, we had to walk through smoking areas to get to other areas of the ship and this really was nasty. By the time we got through them, we could smell smoke in our hair! NOVEAU SUPPER CLUB: $25 per person. EXCELLENT DEAL!: One night, Valentines Day, we decided to try the supper club for the first time. We booked our reservations first thing on embarkation day because we knew Valentines Day would be all booked up. Our experience left us to brag about it to everyone. The food was amazing and the service was incredible. The girls in the supper club were very good to us. The entire experience I strongly recommend to everyone. Yes it's $25, but well worth it. We had the Filet Mignon, which melted in your mouth. The supper club is a 5-course meal however. You must go hungry. That day, we ate very light. We had fruit for breakfast, and hamburger and fries around noon when our reservation was at 6. The only complaint was we were too full to eat the midnight buffet! lol PORTS OF CALL: Belize: Belize is a 3rd world country. This is a tender port and the tender is a lot of fun. They are not the life boats that you are use to on every tendering port, but speed boats from the island to get your there fast because you are so far away from the country. The tender ride was about 15-20 minutes, and could be longer depending on the ocean conditions. Before we left the ship they warned us not to walk out of the gates to go the rest of the country and if you do it was at our own risk. My Mom and I just stayed inside the gates where they had A LOT of shopping areas. It was nice, but after you go into 3 souvenir stores they all begin to look the same. We had a drink, and went back to the ship. Also in Belize, which we have never seen before, was you can buy behind the counter medications without a script. And the Pharmacist was an American and she use to work in a Wall Mart so she knew what she was doing. A lot of the meds were .50 cents a pill and had a long line up. Great deal. Costa Rica: In Costa Rica we did not take a ship tour as we learned that many of the tours were expensive. But once we walked off the ship we ran into a tour guide who was offering one of the same tours as the ship for 25 dollars instead of 100. We decided to take the tour. We got in this little van and with 12 other people and off we went. Our guide on the way to a Canal we were visiting was very good. She spoke excellent English and was really good in answering all of our questions. She took very good care of us. We got to the the canal, and unfortunately they put 14 people on this little boat which made all of us cramped and made it hard to take pictures. But we made the best of it. We saw sloths in the trees, all these amazing birds, a blue butterfly, which Costa Rica is known for, Alligators, and huge iguana's. It was a good tour, but on our way back we saw a very bad boat accident. One of the boats were going too fast on the bend and smacked right into the other boat which made it tip and turn upside down. In the boat was other guests from the ship who lost cameras, their shoes from the mud, money, and that boats guide almost drowned. It was really sad to see. After the tour my Mom and I went to a restaurant to eat, which was good. We had chicken and rice. Before we went back to the ship we did a little shopping, where we bought coffee, and made a short call home to my Step-Dad and my boyfriend. Panama: In this port we decided to do Two Oceans By Rail. It was a decent tour. The tour cost was $159, but was worth it. We started off in Colon, on the Atlantic Ocean, and ended up in Panama City in the Pacific Ocean. The train traveled beside the Locks, while a guide gave us information about the Canal. The train tour was about an hour. When we got to the other train station, there were 6 big buses waiting for everyone and we got our city tour. This took about 3 hours. They took us to the Bridge of America's and let us take pictures and look at the Pacific Ocean. Our guide spoke pretty good English so we understood her well. We then got back on the train and back to Colon, which is very poor. They have trash in the streets, their living conditions are non livable to us Americans. It is very sad to see. It was neat to see leaving Colon, which was poor, and ending up in Panama City, which obviously had more money. Before going back to the ship, we went shopping and watched the country's native Indians dance outside of the ship. The girls wear no shirts, while the guys are wearing a thing with a sheet covering their fronts. We later found out that an ambulance was called to the ship for a guest that had a heart attack. This was not apart of our itinerary, but we made a pit stop in Grand Cayman Islands around 10:00pm Tuesday night on our way back to Miami because another guest on the ship needed medical attention that the ship could not offer her. We anchored off while a tender came and picked her up, she was on a straight board, they took her into the tender and back to the island. We were only there for about 10-15 minutes. As soon as the tender pulled away so did we. Everyone clapped for the lady that had been hurt. Apparently she fell somewhere in the ship and bumped her head, and may have broke something and needed surgery. Well that's at least what some people knew. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was decent. Once again nothing to brag about. The shows were all right. We had a comedian one night, and the next night she did a midnight show which was R rated and no one under 18 was allowed to go. Anyway she was hysterical. She was not crude in any way, but she was just hysterical, she couldn't even control herself trying to tell a joke. A few nights later we had another comedian who was a disappointment. Was not funny, swore after every word and was just crude. We both thought he was a waste of our time since we are not into that kind of humor. The Village Idiots was like a comedy, magic show. Well village idiots answers it all. They were idiots and was not a great show. Somethings were funny, but their humor was just stupid. The broadway shows were bad. The dancers weren't even that pretty and some were over weight. I don't mean to be judgmental, but it was just not what were use to. DISEMBARKATION: Disembarkation went by slowly. We docked in Miami at 6:30 and had to be at Immigration for 7:00am. My Mother and I live in the States but are from Canada. This took about 30-45 minutes. Finally we went back to our cabin, and by this time our cabin steward was already in our room pushing together the beds for the next cruise. We went up to the Lido deck and had breakfast and had to save a table because they wanted to fit all of us there until they started calling our colors. We took turns going back to our room to get our remaining luggage and went back up to Lido deck to wait. It wasn't until almost 10 our luggage tag was called. This took a very long time. We made our way down to deck 3 and exited the ship. When we reached the baggage pick up we grabbed a porter tipped him 3 dollars again and he took us right out of there fast and after being told to go back and forth to find a bus we were finally on the bus waiting another 15 minutes while the driver put all the luggage down below. Finally we were on our way to the airport at about 11:00. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, this was a wonderful ship; we had a wonderful time together doing our Mother and Daughter bonding, and enjoyed our time. We however felt that the service, food, entertainment, and so forth was a downfall in both of our opinions. Some nights were pretty rocky. But then again we were going 22-24 knots, which is pretty fast. I remember one night we walked out of the theater and all of a sudden you saw everyone fall left. It made all of us look as if were all drunk. It never made either of us sick, and we never saw any sick bags through out the ship. Nor did we hear of anyone being sick. You just can't concentrate on the ship movement or focus on the water. You always have to look beyond the horizon. Negatives: 1. The pools/hot tubs get emptied at night. They are only open until 10 when on princess they are open 24 hours. 2. The food did not have a great variety. Every day was the same thing, and after 4 days of eating the same things, you begin to want a change. 3. At night, there were little kids CONSTANTLY running up and down the hallway. Just our luck, our deck had the kids club on it, so they were always running back and forth. It became very annoying trying to sleep listening to banging noises in the hallway. 4. The door on the balcony doesn't stay open so you can listen to the sea at night while sleeping. We had to put the table in the way so the door would not close. On princess they are sliding doors and stay open when you want them too. Our recommendation, bring a bungee cord. 5. Not a lot of activities for days at sea. My Mom was not bored at all, but me on the other hand, I am too old for the teen club, and too young to be involved in the adult world. There was nothing for someone my age except the disco at night, which was always pretty empty. 6. No baked Alaska! We were so disappointed because we always look forward for them to light them on fire and dance around the dining room. Instead they just brought it to our table and asked if we would like a piece. Positives: 1. Every night even though it wasn't a formal night, they always had photos set up around the ship to have your picture taken. They even had photos that you can dress up like the olden days and have your picture taken. Lot's of fun. 2. The ship was spotless and never saw or heard of anyone complain about it. Its beautiful head to toe, except they need to remove the smoking. 3. The staff is really friendly. We ended up sitting in the library one night talking to the manager of the Internet cafe for almost 2 hours. He was such a nice guy with a great personality. 4. Every night the waiters and assistant waiters would dance for you in the dining room. This was a lot of fun, so always bring your cameras to dinner. 5. The towel animals were always in our room when we returned from dinner. Except for the first and last night, but it was always exciting to see what kind of animal was waiting for us. All in all, great cruise. Would we sail Carnival again? Only yes if they changed their food and service. But we think were going to go back to Princess "Where we Belong". Happy Sailings Everyone, Ashli and Shery Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
My wife and I try to take a cruise every year for vacation. This cruise was our seventh cruise. Our last cruise on Carnival was on the old Carnivale. Our most recent cruises were on Royal Caribbean and Princess. The Carnival Spirit was a ... Read More
My wife and I try to take a cruise every year for vacation. This cruise was our seventh cruise. Our last cruise on Carnival was on the old Carnivale. Our most recent cruises were on Royal Caribbean and Princess. The Carnival Spirit was a beautiful ship. Our cabin had a balcony, which was wonderful. The reason I picked Carnival Spirit was because of the ports of call. This cruise went to St. Martin, Barbados and Martinique. Positives: Cabin was roomy and very clean. Ship was large and well maintained. Negatives: Dining room service was much below what we had found on RCI and Princess. Food was good but not anything to brag about. Very few activities on the ship, especially during the day. Contrasting RCI which seemed to constantly have activities around the pool. Two of the Ports of call were closed when we arrived. We arrived in Barbados at noon and all shops closed at 2:00pm. When we arrived in Martinique Sunday morning we found all shopping closed all day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
OUR RETURN TO CARNIVAL After an absence of 19 years and 20 additional cruises, my wife and I decided to try Carnival Cruise Line once again. Carnival was pictured as a good cruise experience for beginners with not quite the standards of ... Read More
OUR RETURN TO CARNIVAL After an absence of 19 years and 20 additional cruises, my wife and I decided to try Carnival Cruise Line once again. Carnival was pictured as a good cruise experience for beginners with not quite the standards of Royal Caribbean, Princess and the like. Over time Carnival continued to grow and absorb one cruise line after another. We decided on trying the "Spirit" for an eight day "Southern Caribbean" cruise because it allowed four and a half days at sea, which we like. We browsed the internet and decided to try "Cruises Only" agency. Our agent, Yadira Usatorres, was very friendly and helpful. We booked a February 3, cruise. We eventually persuaded two other couples, friends in the East, to join us. Yardira, was again very helpful in securing good balcony locations at a very reasonable price. We had a slight problem when I tried to buy travel insurance from a company I had used before. A Ms. Eileen Cody at "Cruises Only" did a superb job getting cheaper and more comprehensive coverage for us. We booked our own flight arrangements, but booked a hotel and transfer package with them. We chose to arrive a day early to avoid flight delays, bad weather conditions, etc. Everything went well with our departure from Dallas. Our luggage was thoroughly searched, but Security was courteous and efficient. Better to be safe than sorry. There was a clinch in our arrival in Miami. No one from Carnival was there to greet us. After some time we were able to find a representative. They had our name, but not the arrival time. They took us to a bus at the pick up area and we were quickly brought to the nearby convenient Miami Airport Hilton Hotel. It was a beautiful hotel with lovely accommodations, good food and service. One couple decided to stay right in the airport Hilton, and they were satisfied with their accommodations. After a restful evening and leisure breakfast, we were transferred to the Miami Ship Terminal. It was a short, pleasant drive. The first sight of the "Spirit" was impressive! This is a big ship! It is 960 feet long, with a beam of 106 feet and 12 passenger decks high, with a gross tonnage of 88,500 and a 2100 guest capacity. Our luggage was swiftly taken away and not seen again until deposited by our cabin before sailing. One of our friends has some difficulty walking, so we requested a wheelchair. We had about an hour wait, but a ship representative took care of all our boarding papers. A young lady from the ship's staff brought the wheelchair and escorted all of us through the crowd right onto the ship to our cabins. We have never seen such a large crowd waiting to board.. This was the one time when you could realize just how many passengers the ship carries and what a long walk it was to board.. We sailed about 2-1/2 hours late because we waited for a group of Canadians who were delayed due to extreme weather conditions in Canada. We had the compulsory lifeboat drill that was effectively conducted. It is always impressive sailing out of Miami and due to the late sailing night was quickly approaching. I would now like to discuss our accommodations. Our cabins were located midship and aft on Deck 5. They were a spacious 225 sq. ft, done in a pleasing soft color dEcor that included the balcony. Upon entering there were two hanging space closets, with a third that had shelving, but could be converted to a hanging closet. There was an abundance of storage units, even enough for longer cruises. There was a full size couch, with drawers below, twin size beds that convert to king size, color television, a wall safe, separate vanity/desk and phone. The bed had a rather firm, but comfortable mattress. Additional pillows were available, and the bed was also high enough to store suitcases beneath. A nice oval table was in front of the couch that could be adjusted in height. The bathroom was a good size with excellent planning. There was a spacious sink/vanity with well lighted mirror and plenty of shelving. They supplied a nice basket of promotional amenities, such as razors, aspirin and even stomach antacids. The shower was a nice size with an adjustable shower head with a built in soap and shampoo dispenser. Even the toilet had a more muffled swishing sound. Fluffy robes were supplied that could also be purchased for a reasonable cost. We were very pleased with the soundproofing. The entrance door is quite heavy, but certainly keeps out corridor sounds. Very little, if any, noise was heard from adjacent cabins. The balcony had a low lounge chair and a regular height chair with a small table. It was most pleasant to be able to sit there and look through the clear glass railing with just a wood handrail top. My only constructive criticism was that would have been nice to have a separate lighting switch for the closet area without having the other perimeter ceiling trough lighting going on at the same time. One note of caution, do not attempt to leave the balcony door left open to get fresh air while sleeping, because the cabin controlled temperature shuts off when the door is left open. This is a spacious ship. Deck 2 and 3 are completely given to public spaces. In the front is the three level, 1600 seat, Pharaoh's Palace showroom, done in a Egyptian motif. Sightlines are good and seating is comfortable couches, with excellent spacing between rows. Drinks are served during shows and small table are provided. Upper level seating has very high back theater chairs. There were two Vegas style production shows that were very well received. There is a smaller more intimate Versailles Lounge below on deck 1. Late night adult, musical and comedy shows were presented here with standing room only the one time we went. There are so many lounges (16) that one can always find a place to be alone or with friends if desired. One interesting place is "The Jungle" that permits one to make a full walk around the promenade. There is an internet/library room, card room and even a chapel where weddings can be performed. The main lobby/atrium begins on Deck 2 and soars all the way to Deck 11, where the 2 story supper club (extra cost) is located under a red glass dome that is part of Carnival's signature stack. The lower lobby has the front and shore tour desks, a bar with live music and small dance floor. Three glass elevators are located in this atrium. The photo gallery is located on the next deck up, surrounding the atrium, making this area alive day and night. We have never seen so many spots with all different backgrounds for portrait picture taking. There is plenty of opportunity to have pictures taken, but the staff is not intrusive. In fact, I must comment on the entire ship's crew. It must be very difficult to maintain a friendly, helpful attitude all the time, but from the young ladies at the front desk, to Michael Mullane, the Cruise Director, right on through to the Captain, the entire ship personnel went out of their way to give you a good time. Three main banks of high speed large elevators with broad foyers and staircases make getting around the ship very easy. Almost all areas were easily accessible using the wheelchair. I would now like to comment on the Dining experience. The Empire restaurant seats 1300 people and extends two decks. We had a window table, number 150, for six, right at the stern, so we could watch the wake of the ship. It is done in the Napoleonic early 19th Century French style with very attractive painted mural ceiling, crystal chandeliers and gold finished trimming. There was a large variety of seating from tables for two, booths, long tables for six and round tables for six, eight or ten. Our waiter, Joel Batiz and assistant Suresh, were excellent. Service was swift and efficient with a friendly desire to please. They soon got to know our likes and even the wine steward got to know just when and how to bring a certain after dinner drink to one of our friends. The food was served hot and very nicely presented. One evening my duckling was not done to my liking and the Maitre d' came over to apologize and offer to substitute another entrEe. We had 2nd seating and never felt rushed. I must say that the food was certainly on par with other cruise lines we have been on. Breakfast and lunch were open seating. We had a nice continental breakfast in our cabin several times, and all other breakfasts in the Dining Room. We always had lunch in the spacious La Playa Grill located on Deck 9. The design of this was very well planned. Instead of long serving counters, different type of foods, like oriental, pizza, deli, etc. stations were scattered about the huge room. There was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating space around the fantail pool. The variety and quality of food exceeded our expectations. We were also treated to a short tour of the Galley, which was spotless. The Galley is located below the Dining Room. High speed escalators come up to serving stations making the waiters to really keep moving. Near the end of the cruise was a gala late night buffet with a wonderful extravaganza of food and decorations on display before eating. For those who like to gamble there is a large casino that extends across the full width of the ship. It has a full array of table and slot machines and a bar. We didn't play much and didn't come home a big winner either. There were shops that sold the usual line logo clothing, as well as, more expensive jewelry and clothing. The liquor shop sold a limited selection at competitive prices. There is a huge 2 level 13,700 sq. ft. ocean view gymnasium/spa facility located on deck 9 & 10 in the forward part of the ship. This offers a sauna, steam, beauty saloon, a whirlpool, and 10 treatment rooms, offering all kinds of treatments, but they were not inexpensive. There is a special jogging track deck. There is even a separate secluded deck space for topless sunbathing, if you so desire. This is a restricted area with a gate. There is more than enough outdoor lounging areas and four swimming pools with one covered by a retractable dome. There is also an unusual spiral waterslide that does not empty into a pool, but has a water bumper to slow you down and stop at the bottom. It looked like fun. For people who say that cruise might be boring, all they have to do is look at the daily "Caper" newsletter. There is enough going on to occupy all you time. You have to make choices. If you want to be alone cabin television provides movies and a wide variety of features. Because there were six of us, we opted to hire our own tours in St. Maarten and Barbados. The shore tour desk offered their assistance and did not try to push their tours. We could even take the wheelchair ashore and was assisted off. In Martinique we took one of the ship's tours because of the limited port time. We had a good bus and guide, and saw highlights of the island in comfort and arrived back in time. There were many tours offered for each port of call. After we left Martinique, the Captain announced that he was altering course to provide calmer seas and better weather. We did have some very strong winds, but for us the ship was very steady. It was like being at a resort instead of at sea. On the last day it was announced that we would be arriving back in Miami early because of a very ill passenger who needed hospitalization, but it would not effect our leaving the ship. So you can see the ship personnel had the passenger comfort and safety in mind to give a pleasant cruise experience. In closing, I would like to comment on the ambiance of the ship design. All of Carnival's ships were designed by the renowned interior architect, Joe Farcus. Mr. Farcus has honed his design skills well, continuing to improve on each new ship. This is an easy ship to move about and there is enough art work to satisfy all tastes. For my taste the dEcor is still a little glitz, but the interiors have been toned down considerably from the earlier class ships that featured changing fluorescent atrium lighting. I would not hesitate to recommend and to sail on Carnival again. The entire cruise experience was first rate. This was one couple's first cruise and our 29th. I think we all are ready to go again sometime in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
I am not going to write about all the wonderful things that you have probably read in other reviews, except to say that they are so true! This was the nicest ship we had ever been on and had a wonderful time. We had booked an oceanview ... Read More
I am not going to write about all the wonderful things that you have probably read in other reviews, except to say that they are so true! This was the nicest ship we had ever been on and had a wonderful time. We had booked an oceanview guarantee and ended up with an oceanview with balcony. We booked 2 weeks before departure and paid $533/pp including taxes and port charges on an internet site. The room was huge, and had 3 closets, table and seating area as well as a dressing table/desk with mirror. There was more storage than I expected. Each side of the bed had an end table with doors. The bathroom had 6 glass shelves and 2 more shelves below the sink. The room also had a refrigerator that we asked the steward to empty. I filled it with the juices/mixers for my drinks along with the wine I brought on board. They did ask me to show them that they were wine, not hard liquor when I boarded. I had filled water bottles with the hard liquor and they didn't question those. The gym was unbelievable. I just loved it and went everyday. It was crowded the first day and tapered off from then on. The showers in the gym had 2 water nozzles on each side and the main one in the usual place. It was great. The entertainment wasn't as good every night as other cruises and there wasn't really much planned during the day except for the usual hairy chest/line dancing at the pool. But even that only lasted a short time and we were at sea for a total of 4 days. Not a problem if the weather is good and you like to be in the sun. There were more elderly people than I had noticed on previous cruises, I guess the 8 days leaving in the middle of the week eliminated a lot of people who might still be working. The nightlife was not as active or wild as previous cruises. The disco bar/dance room was usually empty or practically so. There were few children on board, 60 and the ship was full. I never saw more than 10 or so at any one time. The nursery charged $6 per hour for you to bring your child to them. The hours were very limited for children under 2, since they were not allowed to mix with older children. I was disgusted that the topless deck was almost exclusively occupied by men, lots of them. Most women came up and then left quickly. I wasn't going to be the only woman up there and apparently others felt the same way. It got slightly better as the cruise wore on. I thought that the service and food were fine. The calzones were especially good at the pizzeria. I enjoyed all the ports but since were there on a weekend, most stores were closed. My husband didn't mind that at all! Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
CARNIVAL SPIRIT 8-Day Southern Caribbean Cruise January 18-26, 2004 Facts and Figures: Built and Delivered: April 2001 Gross Tonnage: 88,500 Length: 963 feet Beam: 105.7 feet Passenger Capacity: 2,124 Crew: 930 Captain: Marco Nogara ... Read More
CARNIVAL SPIRIT 8-Day Southern Caribbean Cruise January 18-26, 2004 Facts and Figures: Built and Delivered: April 2001 Gross Tonnage: 88,500 Length: 963 feet Beam: 105.7 feet Passenger Capacity: 2,124 Crew: 930 Captain: Marco Nogara & Pier Paolo Scala Hotel Director: Duncan Puttock Cruise Director: Michael Mullane Cruise Pictures: http://public.fotki.com/eroller/carnival_spirit/ Personal Cruise History: I'm 37 years old and reside in Atlanta, GA. My cruising history started at the young age of 12 on the beautiful Italian Liner LEONARDO DA VINCI. She remains my all time favorite ship. Since the LEONARDO, I've somehow racked up well over 50 cruises on all the major cruise lines (9 on Carnival), and a few of the not so major lines. I'm not loyal to any one line and generally like to try out any new ship or design. I'm also a big fan of the classic liners, and some of my best remembered voyages have been on these lovely old ladies. Unfortunately classic ships are few and far between in today's world of super-sized mega-liners. On this cruise I traveled with Christopffre, my partner of 8 years. Pre-Cruise: We flew from Atlanta to Miami three days early to enjoy the fun and sun of South Beach. We were not disappointed. Our convertible was rented though Alamo and we stayed at the Fontainebleau Hilton on Miami Beach. We secured the hotel reservation through Priceline at $90 per night. This was a great deal considering the time of year and the same room normally goes for over $200 per night. Upon arrival we were upgraded to an ocean view room on the 15th floor. It's amazing what a pleasant email to the Hotel Director beforehand can do for you. The room was a bit outdated but clean and huge. There was a giant walk-in closet and of course the wrap-around windows looking directly at the ocean and down Miami Beach. It was a wonderful view to wake up to every morning. In Miami we enjoyed dinner with friends at the Tides Hotel on South Beach and Deco Weekend. We also met up with friends in Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood for dinner. The dinners certainly kept us busy between shopping and enjoying the beautiful hotel pool. The only negative about the hotel was the $17 per day charge for valet parking. There is no way around this and since the hotel also accommodates many conventions, the wait for your car can be lengthy. Embarkation: One of the great things about renting through Alamo is the free transportation to the Miami Pier from their Miami airport location. Before retuning the car we dropped our luggage off at Pier 8, which is where CARNIVAL SPIRIT departed from. It was quite busy as Carnival's PARADISE and CARNIVAL VICTORY were also in port. After returning our car and taking the complimentary shuttle back to the pier, it was time to check-in. We had already filled out Carnival's new "Fun Pass" registration information online beforehand so we were all set. There were two lines, one for "Fun Pass" and one for those that did not complete registration in advance. Both lines looked equal in length, but we opted for the Fun Pass line. It moved very quickly and we were onboard the ship in about a half hour. Good job Carnival! Cabin: Our cabin was a category 7A, number 5236. I personally picked out this cabin as it offers a triple size balcony at no extra charge. The location was excellent, with no noise even though the aft stairs and elevators were practically at our door. As I hoped the balcony was very large. The width was the same as all the other balconies, but the length was three times as long. There were three chairs and a table on the balcony, as well as night lighting with individual controls inside the cabin. Category 7A is sold as "obstructed view" by Carnival, and the obstruction is that lifeboats are located directly below the balcony. In no way do they block your view looking straight out, but they do block your view looking down. I have a picture that will give you a better understanding. Like all Spirit Class standard cabins, ours measured 185 square feet, had an excellent layout and design, more than adequate storage space, and was very comfortable and functional. Standard features are two lower beds convertible to a queen size, a sofa, safe, interactive TV (Fun Vision) with remote, and mini-bar. The bath contained a nice sized shower with tons of water pressure, a great showerhead, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and a complimentary assortment of personal care items such as toothpaste, dental floss, and lotion. There is also a comprehensive cabin directory, a Ports of Call book, and a CARNIVAL SPIRIT Inaugural book detailing the construction of the ship. Two complimentary bathrobes round out the list of amenities. I ordered some flowers and homemade cookies through Carnival online, and both were waiting for us when we arrived. Let me just say the cookies are well worth the cost! We enjoyed them the entire cruise. Our Cabin Steward Bonifacio introduced himself and delivered our luggage soon after we arrived, and did a superb job the entire cruise. Ship: Much has already been written about CARNIVAL SPIRIT, so I won't go into details about every area of the ship. I will say that SPIRIT and CARNIVAL PRIDE are my two favorite Carnival ships. CARNIVAL SPIRIT is probably the most toned down of any Carnival ship, and this might have something to do with the fact that she is essentially Carnival's expedition ship. SPIRIT is the ship that travels through the Panama Canal, to Hawaii, and Alaska when not cruising the Caribbean. She is also fast, and we averaged 20-23 knots during all our days at sea. Many have stated they feel the Spirit Class ships have a tendency to move more then other Carnival ships, but I don't feel this is the case at all. Even at 23 knots you could barely notice any movement, except for some vibration in the aft section of the dining room, which is typical. I also enjoy the overall layout of the Spirit Class over all the other Carnival ships. The passenger flow is excellent and there are very few bottlenecks. Very rarely did the ship ever feel crowded, especially when compared to the CONQUEST, which I sailed on last July. Regarding the dEcor, it's actually very tasteful yet interesting. My partner who is not a fan of Carnival (until this cruise) even stated he would not have guessed it was a Carnival ship had he not known. Pools/Spa: The pools, gym, and spa are important features for me, which is why they have their own category. I'm happy to report that all three are excellent on SPIRIT. The gym has all the latest equipment, is two levels, and has beautiful forward facing views. European techno music is blasted which is perfect to work out to. In the center is an adult's only hot tub, and to each side are men's and women's changing areas. Each changing area has wonderful private showers with five showerheads in each stall. Both the men and women have their own steam room and sauna as well. A unique feature is the steam room and sauna both have floor to ceiling windows, which face the ocean. Nice touch! The pools on SPIRIT are also exceptional. There are three all together, saltwater, and each fairly large with a nice splash area if you don't want to get completely wet. One pool can be covered (not needed on our cruise) and also houses the afternoon band. Another pool is all the way aft with beautiful views of the ship's wake, and the third pool is directly mid-ship and is the quiet pool. Deck chairs were plentiful and there was little problem getting a good spot on this cruise, even if you didn't make it out on deck until noon like us. Of course no Carnival ship would be complete without a large slide, and SPIRIT is no exception. It's located all the way aft and doesn't actually connect to any of the pools as on other Carnival ships. Food: Food is a very subjective topic, but my personal opinion is that it was excellent all around. Great quality, presentation, temperature, variety, and taste. I would rate it above recent cruises on Cunard, Princess, and Holland America. The selection at the La Playa Lido restaurant was excellent, and there were many different stations that offered various selections of regional food. The "Taste of Nations" section changed everyday to a different part of the world. Some of the other sections were a grill, deli, Asian section, pizza, salad and fruit bar, desert bar, ice cream stations, and rotisserie. Delicious soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt, along with pizza and salads were available 24 hours along with room service. Dining room cuisine was also excellent, and we enjoyed a wonderful table for two on the upper balcony, second sitting. I can't think of a single evening where there was not something on the menu that was truly appealing, and in each case it was delicious. Lobster, Beef Wellington, Filet Mignon, grilled shrimp, Steak Diane, rack of lamb, and Prime Rib were just a few of the choices. One evening we also dined in the Nouveau Supper Club. This is the extra tariff specialty restaurant high up in the ship that costs $25 per person. It was well worth it as both the food and service were incredible. The other nice thing is that it is a true Supper Club, complete with it's own bar, dance floor, and live trio. The trio was excellent and many enjoyed a dance between dinner courses. The overall atmosphere was exquisite. Service: For the most part service was excellent. Our main contact with the staff consisted of our cabin steward, dining room waiter, and dining room assistant. We could not have asked for better in each regard. Our waiter was so eager to please that he almost insisted on bringing an extra entrEe, appetizer, or desert each evening just so we could try it. If we said no, it was almost like we were hurting his feelings. He was a true gem, along with his assistant Olga from Eastern Europe. Our cabin steward did an amazing job, and without ever disturbing us which is the sign of a truly great steward. You would rarely see him, but sure enough every time you returned to the cabin it was cleaned, towels refreshed, and beds either turned down or made up. He also left us 4-5 of Carnival's trade mark "towel animals" which are always fun. Apparently the towel animals are so popular that Carnival now sells them in the gift shop. They are a miniature version and not real towels, but they look just like the real thing. Smart marketing on the part of Carnival. Entertainment and Activities: In true Carnival fashion there was a huge variety of entertainment every night. Jazz, piano bar, disco, slow dancing, karaoke, sing-a-long, production shows, late night comedy, magicians, passenger talent show, etc. Even the casino had a live band and sitting area, which reminded one of Las Vegas. There were two production shows, "Standing Room Only", and "High Spirits". Both were good, but I've seen better on other Carnival ships. A third show called "Singin with the Band" stars 15-year Carnival veteran Christopher Alan Graves. This is his own production show that is a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. This was probably my favorite show and I also enjoyed meeting Christopher for drinks afterward (he is a personal friend of my brother). Daytime activities were typical Carnival, with many just for fun activities and plenty that were revenue producing as well. One thing I noticed was the toning down of PA announcements. Thankfully they were kept to about three a day which I think is acceptable. This was actually less then we experienced on the MAASDAM last June. I'm not sure if this is a new Carnival policy (I hope so) or just the style of this particular Cruise Director, but it was welcomed. Fellow Passengers: As this cruise was 8-days during school time, there were not that many children and the average age was probably older then what people typically think of Carnival. While certainly not sedate by any means, this was not the drink until you drop crowd either. The disco was crowded on a couple nights (especially the last formal night when all the crew attended) but barely attended on others. We found our fellow passengers to be very pleasant and a pleasure to cruise with. No rowdiness, drunkenness, or obscene behavior was witnessed on this cruise. Everyone seemed to have a great time but were respectful of others. Weather: I can't remember when I've had such consistently great weather on a cruise and pre-cruise. Everyday was sunny, warm, and in the mid-eighties. The only exceptions were embarkation afternoon in Miami and our day in Martinique, which were cloudy with some off and on rain. Seas were also calm, and dead calm on a few occasions. Ports: Ports of call were St. Maarten, Barbados, and Martinique. We did not take any tours so I can't comment on them. We had been to all three ports before so we just took it easy, walked off the ship after the hordes had disembarked, and toured around on our own. I did meet up with several QM2 passengers in Barbados, which I had arranged in advance. It was great to hear all about the new QM2 from first hand experience over cocktails and Banks Beer. Debarkation: Carnival has an excellent new debarkation process for passengers that can carry off all their own luggage and are US citizens with proper ID. If you meet these qualifications then you are the very first group to debark the ship, and do not have to wait for all the luggage to be off-loaded. We were cleared off the ship at about 7:40am, took a cab to the airport, and were able to make a 9:40am flight to Atlanta with plenty of time to spare. It's was great pulling into our driveway just after noon, having just disembarked a cruise earlier that morning. It was one of the quickest and painless debarkations of a mega-ship I have yet to experience. Ship Spotting: Since I am an avid ship lover, one of the pleasures of cruising for me is spotting other cruise ships. I must be one of the few people that actually enjoy crowded Caribbean ports full of other cruise liners! I learned early on that Cunard's new QM2 would be docked with us in Barbados, and this was certainly a highlight for me. The ship is absolutely spectacular and is a must-sail for me. Overall this was a great cruise for ship spotting. Here is a list of all the ships seen in order during the cruise. PARADISE, CARNIVAL VICTORY, NORWEGIAN SUN, VOYAGER OF THE SEAS, MILLENNIUM, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH, OOSTERDAM, RADIANCE OF THE SEAS, OCEANIA, SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR, QUEEN MARY 2, COSTA CLASSICA, EUROPEAN VISION, CRYSTAL SYMPHONY, ROYAL CLIPPER, CLUB MED 2, FACINATION, MAJESTY OF THE SEAS, BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS, OLYMPIA VOYAGER. Room for Improvement: Nothing is perfect, but there really was very little I was not satisfied with. Here are a few items I thought Carnival could improve upon. The cabin TV needs additional free programming. There were plenty of pay-per-view movies, but only one free movie per day, and not a very good one at that. I wish Carnival would go back to supplying pool towels by the pool. I hate having to guard my towel and take it back and forth to the cabin. I know this is an attempt to curtail chair saving but there must be a better way. The Photo Shop ran out of the stuffed "Fun Ship Freddie's" by the second day of the cruise. They sell them at $15 a pop and they are cuter then the actual live mascot. I don't know why, but I really wanted one and was out of luck. The gym is only open until 8pm and should be open at least until 11pm, or better yet, 24 hours. Bar service was extremely slow, especially in the dining room and show lounge. This came as a surprise since during past Carnival cruises you virtually had to fight off the pestering bar waiters. Maybe Carnival is trying to be more low-key, but in any case it was annoyingly slow Finally, the fantail deck area on Lido Deck 9 used to be teak. For some reason Carnival covered it over with a rubberized surface made to look like wood. I don't know why they did this? Thankfully teak is still used on the outdoor wrap-around promenade deck and a good portion of Sun Deck. Conclusion: As I'm sure you gathered, we truly enjoyed ourselves on the CARNIVAL SPIRIT. Considering the price we paid and what we received in return it was a tremendous value. Would we sail on Carnival again? Absolutely! Carnival seems to shine best during the off-season when the ships are not filled to over 100% capacity with teens and children. The staff gives better service and is far less stressed. I also liked the fact it was not a typical "Spring Break" crowd as I'm getting a little old for that. For these reasons, future Carnival cruises will be on the Spirit Class, 7-days or longer, and during the off-season. I think for me personally that will help guarantee a successful cruise. Pictures Site: Unfortunately my digital camera died just before this cruise began, so it was back to my old standby. I decided to try Kodak's 800-speed multi-use film with "blur-reduction" technology. I think it was a mistake as the pictures turned out too grainy. In the future, I will use film no faster then 400-speed. The Pictures are arranged into several different folders, each with it's own category. This way you can look at the pictures that interest you the most, without having to thumb through the entire lot. Click on this link for the photos: http://public.fotki.com/eroller/carnival_spirit/ Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
The Spirit was the best Carnival ship I've sailed! The embarkation process in Miami was very smooth. We got on the ship very quickly and didn't have to wait in line for very long at all. The decor is much more elegant than the ... Read More
The Spirit was the best Carnival ship I've sailed! The embarkation process in Miami was very smooth. We got on the ship very quickly and didn't have to wait in line for very long at all. The decor is much more elegant than the neon lights of the Fantasy, Fascination and Destiny. It's a much more stately ship and classier as well. Our stateroom was much nicer than previous ships. The decor was more updated. The balcony was very large and gave lots of space to move about. The hallways through the cabins were decorated better and weren't just long narrow halls with loud wallpaper. Our cabin steward, Socorro, was great. He called us by name and acknowledged us everytime he saw us. He was always asking if we needed anything. The food was very good on the ship. There was a nice variety available. We didn't go to the supper club since we found the available foods more than satisfactory. We did have a little trouble getting drink refills in the dining room but it was great otherwise. The entertainment was all great except the "Village Idiots". But, if you like stupid humor, you'll enjoy them. Michael was the cruise director. He was pretty funny. His best attribute would have to be his singing talent though. His wife, Jenni, was entertaining too. Some of the photographers did not pay much attention to small details like jewelry being skewed, etc. Make sure you look in a mirror first because they don't seem to notice the small things that scream out in a photo. The shore tours were VERY EXPENSIVE compared to the tours on my previous cruises. I highly recommend the Grand Tour in Panama. The snorkeling at the barrier reef was not very great. The water wasn't clear. But it was cloudy. Be sure to use a Carnival tour for the aerial tram in Costa Rica. We nearly missed the shipped coming back and we wasted no time whatsoever. The gym was nicely equipped though a few treadmills looked like they were just about ready for retirement. The spa personnel were very helpful and friendly. Debarkation was a breeze other than one piece of my luggage with a PINK tag being put out with PURPLE luggage. It was smooth going other than that. Overall, the Spirit is an excellent ship. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
My husband and I, and my brother and his girlfriend enjoyed ourselves immensely on the January 10th sailing of the Carnival Spirit. We departed Miami, and went to Belize, Costa Rica and Panama. Embarkation - We were at the dock shortly ... Read More
My husband and I, and my brother and his girlfriend enjoyed ourselves immensely on the January 10th sailing of the Carnival Spirit. We departed Miami, and went to Belize, Costa Rica and Panama. Embarkation - We were at the dock shortly before noon, and we were boarding by 12:10. Lines were short and moved quick. We had done online paperwork, but we didn't even get into the Funpass line, as it wasn't necessary. This was great! The Ship - The Spirit is a beautiful ship! The atrium is awe-inspiring and gorgeous with all the rich-looking wood and antique copper. The Pharoah's Palace is amazingly detailed, as are most of the other public areas. The only area that screams Carnival is the lido deck, otherwise it is muted and classy. Don't forget to check out the Jungle hallway forward - it's very different compared to the decor on the rest of the ship. Also - the Spirit was very clean, all the time. We had relatively smooth sailing - yes, there were a few bumpy times, but only one that was significant, and it was around 2-3am one night. Cabin - We had a balcony cabin on deck 6 (Empress?). As is typical of Carnival, it was large with a lot of storage space. There are two closets for hanging clothes, one closet with shelves, plus drawers and cabinets under the countertop for lots of stuff. The couch has two drawers underneath. The safe is plenty big for anything you want locked up. The shower is actually big enough to shave in!! and there are 3 shelves on EACH side of the bathroom mirror. We kept our balcony door open with a bungee cord most of the time - fresh air. We had great towel animals every night. Our room was kept very clean, and we had fresh pool towels every night. Decks - On OUR sailing, there was plenty of deck space. Poolside spots didn't fill until 9:30 - 10am; upper decks didn't fill. I liked having 3 main pool areas, because passengers were not concentrated in only one area. It also seemed like there was just SO MUCH deck space! However, I slightly prefer the tiered decks of the Destiny-class. The lounge chairs are not the most comfortable, but they work (usually!). Main Dining Room Food - Some was excellent, most was very good. We had every dinner in the Napoleon section of the main dining room. There were only two things declared "only ok" - the escargots and the French onion soup (surprisingly!). My faves included: grilled satay of chicken tenderloin, mushroom cream soup, pumpkin soup, lobster bisque, prime rib (one night was better than the others??), crab legs (night of Costa Rica), shrimp in just about any form, decadence of chocolate (SO GOOD), just about any chocolate dessert, hazelnut creme brulee, hot chocolate souffle (to die for), the pastas are great as appetizers. We had a few breakfasts and a lunch in the main dining room, good, but nothing spectacular. Lido food - most of it was good to very good. LOVE the goat cheese / mushroom pizza, but it has to be fresh! Burgers were juicy and yummy. Deli is good of course. We tried Indian, which was good. I personally didn't care much for the Chinese food. There are so many options that it's hard to try them all! Love the free 24/7 juices, iced tea, coffee, etc. One small problem - the ice machines frequently were low/empty. There is free 24/7 soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt - thanks, Carnival, for the choice! Drinks - Newest fave is the Cappuccino (blended ice drink) - mmmmm yummy. Also love the dirty banana, the BBc, the mudslide. Main Dining room service - we had the best service ever, thanks to Roland and Amit from India. By the 2nd night, Amit knew I didn't want rolls, and that I had regular coffee and my brother had decaf with dessert. Roland knew the entire table wanted skim milk with the main entree. Both guys kept our water glasses full. Besides extra tips, of course, we also specified those two on our comment cards as being outstanding. Bar service - unless you really don't want to get up from your lounge, get your own drinks. Servers would come around frequently, but it took a LONG time for them to come back with drinks. Shows - The big show "High Spirits" on the last formal night was THE BEST we have seen at sea. Don't look for much of a plot, but the costumes, singing, dancing, etc are great. The first big show "Standing Room Only" was good too. The Sinatra / Davis tribute was not our cup of tea, but others seemed to enjoy it. The comedians were ok to good. The Village Idiots missed the boat (literally), so we didn't get to see them. Music - My favorite musicians were the "Margaret Trio" - absolutely beautiful! "Proverbial Tiger" plays jazz, but is very loud in the little area that they play in. John played piano and sang nicely, usually in the Atrium. The Sing-a-Long with Peter usually was Peter playing obscure songs - definitely not sing-a-long style. "Music Zone" played great rock songs from the 70s, 80s, etc. Activities - There are tons of activities all the time. Just make sure to check your Capers every night for the next day, and see what you want to do. Other Services - We didn't use room service, internet, casino, formalities or the spa/salon. We didn't play bingo, and didn't eat at the Supper Club. Photography - There are backdrops set up every night for the photography staff to take pictures - formal nights there were probably 5 stations set up. We had a lot of photos taken, and some were very good, some were just ok. I think overall the staff does a great job. Passengers - There seemed to be many more "older" folks than usual for Carnival. Several of us who have cruised with Carnival before were quite amazed at the average age on this particular sailing. On the other hand, there weren't many kids, so that was a bonus! Belize - cave tubing with Reggie was fun! I would definitely recommend booking through them. There were 16 of us (I think). Jamal and Timmy took great care of us. Costa Rica - we docked late, and they wouldn't let us off the ship until 12:30. Therefore we didn't have time for ziplining as we had planned. We went horse back riding thru Mambo, but he pulled a bait and switch on us, having the guide take us to a place NOT from the pictures he showed us. We ended up being led around the horses' pasture!!! And they didn't have enough horses, so some of us had to double up. And this was after waiting for one man to slowly get the saddles, and the horses, and saddle them all... We did get some $$ back, but we are still disappointed. Our guide through Mambo did try to make us happy, though. We got to hold a child monkey, and a 3-toed sloth. He would have taken us anywhere we wanted to go, but we just went for food at a restaurant that had a nice view of the dock/ship. Panama - We did the 2 Oceans by Train. I enjoyed it a lot. Yes, it's expensive, but... now I can say I took a train from the east coast to the west coast and back again in 1 day. We had photo opps of the Bridge of Americas and Panama City. We stopped at the locks, watched an informational film, etc. I enjoyed the train ride, especially going on the outside viewing platform - nice breeze, and good for taking pics. We had different guides for the train and bus parts, and both were good with providing us facts and information. Disembarkation - we had an early flight, so we opted to carry off our luggage ourselves. This is a relatively new Carnival concept - if you have an early flight, you can choose to carry off all your own luggage (no more putting the luggage out the night before!), and Carnival allows this group of people off before anyone else!! We were off the boat at 7:45!! And since you're carrying your own luggage, you don't have to look through the piles of bags on dock. Negatives - there were only two negatives that stood out to us on this sailing. The first was that we were late to dock at both Costa Rica and Panama. No reasons were given. As stated above, the late docking at Costa Rica prevented us from doing our planned excursion. In Panama, there were a lot of people waiting (and waiting) in the Pharoah's Palace for their excursions. The second negative is that Carnival lets "their" excursion passengers off first, and makes other passengers wait. This occurred at all ports. I don't think this is appropriate - it's like the people who ante up for an expensive excursion through Carnival get preferred treatment. Of course, neither of these little problems are significant at all, in the scheme of things. They were a little disappointing, but have no impact on us sailing with Carnival again. Overall - hubby and I both rate this cruise fabulous! As noted above, the ship was beautiful, cabin spacious and clean, food yummy, service great, activities suitable for pretty much everyone. We have loved Carnival in the past, love it still, and will continue to cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
It was a very nice ship - better than expected. Food was very good. The 10th deck restaurant was worth every penny ($25/person). The cabin with balcony was great. Spacious with a great bathroom and plenty of closet space. There were 3 ... Read More
It was a very nice ship - better than expected. Food was very good. The 10th deck restaurant was worth every penny ($25/person). The cabin with balcony was great. Spacious with a great bathroom and plenty of closet space. There were 3 ports of call, Barbados, St. Martin, and Martinique. Martinique was by far the prettiest island but lacked in shopping bargains. Barbados was nice and the caves were interesting. Great shopping in St. Martin for jewelry but not necessarily for diamonds. I did not find the prices for diamonds any cheaper than here in the U.S. At Marinique we went on the 4 hour island cruise and saw many interesting sites including their rain forest. Back to the ship. We had 4 solid days of sea time. In light of this, and unfortunately, the ships itinerary was lacking during the daytime from Noon to five. I went with my wife and children and was hoping for interesting family activities, but there were few. They still do the same old tiring games of knobby knee contests and men's hairy chest contests. Carnival cruise directors really need to get creative here. The pools were small and the several Jacuzzis always had people in them - as you would expect (yes, even the one in the gym). The entertainment was good, but not great. The cruise director, Michael Mullane was good, plenty of energy, and will remind you a lot of Jay Leno. His wife Jenny was good. Some of the shows were good and some were not. The "R" rated late night comedian should have been rated "X". We walked out on him. His "humor" was not appropriate for a family ship and Carnival really disappointed me here. The Village Idiots comedy show was very funny and appropriate for the entire family. I lost a lot on their bingo games. The cards (3 of them) cost $20. I think it is only worth playing the last bingo game on the last day of the cruise. That game gives you a chance to win a free cruise. By the way, the arcade room for the kids was boring - they told me. There was very little structured activities for the older teenagers. They seem to have been forgotten. My oldest son is a bit of an introvert and would have benefited from activities for his age group. The only time the ship felt crowded is when we looked to lounge on the deck. Good luck finding a place to lay down if you get there after 10 AM. This was a pleasant cruise, overall. I will look for another cruise line with better daytime itineraries for families and better entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
Just completed 8-night Xmas-New Year's cruise on Spirit. Very unusual ports: Belize, Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Nice cabin at stern of ship with large balcony. Very rough seas caused many show cancellations and seasick bags strewn ... Read More
Just completed 8-night Xmas-New Year's cruise on Spirit. Very unusual ports: Belize, Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Nice cabin at stern of ship with large balcony. Very rough seas caused many show cancellations and seasick bags strewn throughout elevators and public areas. This was our 19th cruise (8th w/Carnival). Our 7-yr-old had excellent program, however our 12-yr-old was quite bored in the 12-15yr group with no activities or participation of fellow guests (there were 700 kids on this sailing!) Terrible dining room food & service prompted us to book the specialty restaurant for several nights ($25 pp charge + tip). Tours are overpriced and huge ripoff. You could depart ship in Costa Rica and Panama, walk 20 feet and book the same exact tours with all the same local companies for a FRACTION of what Carnival charged per person! (We saw our fellow guests at all the same places and had our own private transportation- We paid $10 per person for what CCL charged $75 pp) The other overpriced feature was the ship's Spa & Salon. They just revised their "menu" and doubled many of the prices. It was poorly run and ridiculously priced. When passengers complained, the manager gave them free massages or treatments. Forget laying by any of the 5 pools...if you were not up at the crack of dawn to reserve a chair, it was impossible to find one after 9am. We won't be sailing Carnival again for awhile. No comparison to Celebrity or RCL. Evenings offered nothing for adults to do between 7:30p-midnight, except casino. Many passengers complained, and entertainment was terrible, compared to other sailings. A late port return into MIA forced most passengers to miss their flights, many stuck for 2-3 days due to heavy holiday flying. Our friends had items stolen from cabin, as well as returning to their room one night and finding their room steward, busboy and a waiter enjoying their private balcony and making cellphone calls from it, while in port! Unless you are hell-bent on getting to those ports, try them on Princess or RCL instead. Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
Embarkation: While lines were long, they moved swiftly. When we mentioned that our luggage had been lost by our airline, our processor asked for the lost baggage claim, copied it and said Carnival would take over expediting getting our ... Read More
Embarkation: While lines were long, they moved swiftly. When we mentioned that our luggage had been lost by our airline, our processor asked for the lost baggage claim, copied it and said Carnival would take over expediting getting our lost luggage to our first port. He said they would work with the airline for us. From that time on the purser's office handled it. They could not have treated us better. When we told them the next day that our suits/dresses were in the missing luggage, they gave us vouchers to rent tuxes (yes, they even had a woman's tux) for free. They called our cabin to report progress (or lack of it) by the airline in finding our luggage. On at least three occassions we returned to our cabin at the end of the day only to find a typed and signed letter from the purser explaining the luggage had not been found and how much they regretted it. We both felt that Carnival did a first class job and went out of their way to ensure we had the greatest vacation ever. Keep in mind that Carnival had nothing to do with the airline booking/lost bags. I booked the air travel seperately from the cruise. They just wanted to do all they could to help us enjoy ourselves and forget our problem. And they did. We really appreciate everything they did for us. Cabin: We had booked a guaranteed cabin w/balconey and obstructed view(7A category) but were most pleased to be upgraded to a non-obstructed view cabin (8A category?) on the same deck (upper deck). Cabin was same size etc as originally booked. Our cabin was slightly larger than anticipated. It was clean and well kept during our entire cruise. The bed was comfortable and the bath was larger than anticipated. The balconey was quite small but very nice and we both thought it was well worth the extra price. Dining: Our table in the Empire Dining room was at the very back of the ship against a large porthole window. The food was very good to excellent. The service was excellent and our waiters were most entertaining at times. Being a vegetarian, my wife was well accomodated. The buffet style food on the Lido deck was...buffet style. While some of it was very tasteful, everything was just mildly warm. The omelets were the exception. So was the sushi. Entertainment: Most all of the evening shows (We attended all of them) were very good to excellent. The exception was the comedy routines. They were fair to not so fair. Spa/Gym: While we did not use the gym much, it was most impressive. We did use the steam rooms and both enjoyed them My wife had a body condition analyses and massage which she enjoyed but complained that they were pushing vitamins to aggressively (trying to sell them to you that is). Ports: We hired a driver for the day in Panama (there were six of us, it cost $225) He drove us to the locks, through a national park, to Panama City. He picked a restaurant for lunch and ate with us. He then took us to old town Panama City and showed us around. On our return he took us to a private animal sanctuary in someone's backyard where we saw anteaters, monkeys, birds, ocelots, etc. We all had a great day and did not want to get back on the ship. We decided we would love to return to Panama for a longer stay. The people were very, very friendly. In Belize my wife went cave tubing with a small group in a hired vehicle while I went to the Altun Ha Myan ruins. We both had a great time and would like to Belize for a long stay. Then our third port of call was supposed to be Costa Rica. Unfortunately due to weather problems we were re-routed to Cozumel. While we found a nice place for coffee in the morning and had a very good lunch (pricey though!) we did not enjoy Cozumel. The locals were very aggressive and even arrogant at times about pushing their wares or services at you. Debarkation: Was smooth, we were off the boat and on our way to the airport by 10:30AM. Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
Carnival Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.4
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 3.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.2

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