68 Seattle Carnival Spirit Cruise Reviews

The Seattle Port is average and a little dis-organized, but overall not bad. We boarded the ship about 1:30pm and went to the Atrium Bar where we were suprised to find the Awesome Beverage Program being offered. We purchased the open bar ... Read More
The Seattle Port is average and a little dis-organized, but overall not bad. We boarded the ship about 1:30pm and went to the Atrium Bar where we were suprised to find the Awesome Beverage Program being offered. We purchased the open bar program and it was great. You still signed for each beverage, but it showed the price, then credited back that price. We found it well worth the money. (with gratuity its 345.00 per person) The cruise itself was certainly different then we had done before, as it was to a colder climate. The Ship was very nice and medium size so it was easy to get around. The first stop was Juneau, where it rained all day. We tool the tram car to the top of the Mountain, and that was nice and a good view. They had a bar and restaurant at the top we had one drink. Then we just walked through town and looked at shops. The next day, we cruised Glacier Bay, which was fantastic. The weather was great about 50 degrees, we stayed outside for about 6 hours looking at the sites. We got to go to an area called Johns Hopkins Glacier that they had not been able to get to previously all season. This was my favorite day on the cruise. The Next stop was Skagway where we took the 3 hour train ride, which was very nice and had great views. There are longer train rides available, but I thought 3 hours was enough. The rest of the day we went through the town and looked at shops. This had the best prices for items to bring back home. The last stop was Ketchikan. This was the biggest town and the weather was great, it was in the high 50's and sunny. We just wandered through the town on this day. Overall, this was a great cruise and it was the last one for this ship to alaska. We spent a couple of days before the cruise in Seattle and I would recommend that to everyone cruising alaska as Seattle is a nice town to visit. Also, for this cruise we ended in Vancouver Canada and took a shuttle back to Seattle for our flight home. That takes almost 4 hours, so that is a fairly long ride back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
After spending many hours researching our Alaskan cruise by reading other reviews, I knew I had to write my own review at the conclusion of the trip. So, here's my report which will focus on the ship and the excursions, none of which ... Read More
After spending many hours researching our Alaskan cruise by reading other reviews, I knew I had to write my own review at the conclusion of the trip. So, here's my report which will focus on the ship and the excursions, none of which were booked through Carnival. We overpaid for the airport transfer but only realized that after we'd booked and no refunds were allowed. Even though it was expensive, it worked flawlessly with minimal waiting at the airport and our bags showed up at our cabin, so not many complaints there. Boarding the ship went pretty well. We got on around 2:00 (4:00 departure) and had printed all of our documents in advance. The entire process was about 30 minutes. Our cabin was a 7A type (#5175) and the view was considered partially blocked but it really wasn't bad at all. I would recommend this if someone is looking to save a few hundred bucks. The first night we opted for dinner in the Nouveau steakhouse based on other reviews. It came with a complimentary bottle of wine and was delicious. I also heard that dinner in the Empire room was great that night. Carnival now offers "all you can drink" booze for a set fee per day. We did not opt for this but a few friends did. I don't believe they got their money worth (it equated to about 8 beers per day, and considering some days were spent at port, it was just not possible. Although they gave it a gallant effort!). We instead smuggled booze on using Rum Runners and then bought bottomless bubbles. None of us are soda drinkers so a full week of soda + hard liquor was definitely numbing. I do recommend the Rum Runners, though. Also, an added word of warning about the unlimited booze - every person in the cabin has to buy it. One of our friends doesn't drink and her husband wanted the bottomless booze but they wouldn't let him purchase unless she did too. To start out with a full day at sea was a bit rough and I got cabin fever quickly. We started the day with a workout (check out the small track up near the mini golf/basketball - it was quiet and peaceful each morning and a nice alternative to the treadmills) followed by breakfast. We all got pretty sick of the food at La Playa grill on Lido deck 9 by the end. Otherwise, there was not much to do. We hunkered down and played cards in the game room and also gambled a little. Dinner in the Empire Room was delicious. We chose Your Time dining (billed as "Dine when you want, with whoever you want") and decided to try to dine with our friends who had a 7:45 set time. However, the billing should be "dine with who you want, when you want, as long as they have Your Time dining too" because we ended up having to change to the 7:45 dining at a reserved table for the rest of the week in order to join them. The first port town was Juneau. It was cold and rainy. We went whale watching with Captain Larry and Orca Enterprises. I highly recommend this. Orca is the last privately owned tour. The guides on the boat were HIGHLY engaged and enthusiastic. We saw hundreds of orcas and a dozen or so humpbacks. We were cold and wet at the end and were happy to warm up with a Duck Fart from the Red Dog Saloon before re-boarding the boat. (We did see a bear downtown while we were wandering!) The walk back to the boat was FAR and my friend slipped and sprained her ankle near the gangway which was a bummer to happen so early in the trip. It was also a very slow embarkation process of about 45 minutes to get back on the boat. No fun standing around in the cold rain in that kind of weather! The next day was Glacier Bay and that was pretty incredible. We took the recommendations of some others and spent about half the time in our room, snuggled under the comforter. We ordered room service and were underwhelmed - not many offerings (fruit, cold cereal) to be had on the menu. The second port was in Skagway. We booked a private tour through Matt at Skagway Van Tours. It was nice and Matt was very accommodating and stopped for all of our many photo requests. We went to the Yukon, checked out the little village of Carcross, and headed back to town. Skagway is home to about 400 people according to Matt and lacks for entertainment. We had dinner back on the boat and it was good (the dinners all kind of blur together and all I really remember is the chocolate cake for dessert each night...) The next day we docked in Ketchikan. This was the highlight of the trip. We checked out Creek Street (do NOT miss!) and then had a float plane. We booked it through Shore Excursions Group but I found you can save $55 by going directly to the aviation company. The company we used was Southeast Aviation. Check out their website and book directly with them. WHAT A GREAT TIME! Mark, our pilot, was super fun and kept flying us around for close-up wildlife sightings. He also landed us in a cove to search for a bear (which we didn't actually end up seeing). I can not say enough good things about Southeast Aviation - I'm even sporting my brand new t-shirt from them right now. The final day was supposed to be a cruise of the Inside Passage but who knows if we actually cruised there or not. It was so foggy we couldn't even see the water from our balcony. Many times we noticed we weren't moving at all due to bad visibility. This made for another long day at sea. Our final port was in Vancouver, docking at 7 a.m. We had a flight back out of SEA so had a one-way rental and then a drive back, and wanted to be first off the boat. We got up at 5, ate some breakfast, and then got in line a little after 6. Actually, we WERE the line. Debarking was a little chaotic - haven't they done this before??? - and we couldn't find anyone from Carnival who knew where to go. Finally at about 7:30 when there were dozens of people lined up, they ended up moving the entire line to another area of the ship to exit, merging with some people who were already there. We were off the ship and through customs by about 8. Since we were at the front there was no customs queue at all. Overall, I can't say I would recommend this cruise completely. The ship is horribly dated in the common areas, and is very tacky/cheesy. Since we are about 30 years younger than the average Alaskan cruiser, maybe this is appealing to some. But the port towns were fun and I highly, HIGHLY recommend each of the excursions we did. I would not have done it differently if I did it all again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
After reading posts on Cruise Critic we decided to get into Seattle a day early and stayed at the Westin in Downtown Seattle. The Westin is a perfect place to stay. It is centrally located for all the touristy things to do in Seattle. ... Read More
After reading posts on Cruise Critic we decided to get into Seattle a day early and stayed at the Westin in Downtown Seattle. The Westin is a perfect place to stay. It is centrally located for all the touristy things to do in Seattle. The roms are very confortable and with our room in the north tower, an excellent view of the Space Needle. The Carnival Spirit is a beautiful ship. All the staff was very friendly. Once we found out room we started to unpack and there was more than enough space to hand everything. ( You may need to bring a few extra hangers). We booked an 8K extended balcony which was mid ship in the starboard (right) side, which could not have been better. After the unpacking the exploring began, and believe me there is a lot to explore. Lido deck (9th) had the buffet and other eating areas which were very clean and also the Serenity area for adults only. We took the tour of the ship offered by the cruise lines with Cassie. She was very informative. The Empire room ( Main dining room ) was very elegant and the waiters were very friendly and seem to really enjoy meeting the new weekly group of people. The ship was very clean and since it was just recently remodeled, was very up to date, other than the ugly birds statue overlooking the pool. Overall we did mostly walking from deck to deck as the stairway was very beautiful with all the woodwork. The showroom was excellent and the two shows were equal to or above Las Vegas standards. The lights and music were excellent and any seat was good to vie the happenings. The punch liner comedy lounge, although a bit small, was excellent with good service. Overall I would take another cruise in a heartbeat on this ship and this line Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was one of our best vacations. We arrived in Seattle a few days early and spent time enjoying the waterfront and downtown. It is a fun city! I was concerned about staying downtown when making reservations, so we stayed at The ... Read More
This was one of our best vacations. We arrived in Seattle a few days early and spent time enjoying the waterfront and downtown. It is a fun city! I was concerned about staying downtown when making reservations, so we stayed at The Inn at Queen Anne, Queen Anne district. This is an old hotel, very charming, but, remember, it is old. It doesn't have an elevator, so ask for a first floor room. The bus to go downtown is one block away and the bus drop-off is at the Inn. As for the wariness of staying downtown, there was nothing for me to worry about. There is a Marriot and Homewood Suites close to the cruise port. I think they may have shuttles to the port. The Inn doesn't have a shuttle, but is only 2 miles from the port. If you are driving, beware, there is a parking charge (everywhere) and a parking tax. Ridiculous prices! We saw one sign, $35 for eight hours. Our cruise was wonderful. Our cabin was spacious with a large balcony. The room has king bed and a sofa which folds out to a bed (if you have more than 2 people). We have no complaints about the cabin. Our steward's name was Felix. He took great care of us. We visited Tracy Arm Fjord. It was a beautiful sunny day. We were told that is very rare. This is a beautiful area. Saw signs of whales (puffs, tails), and eagles. The first port was Skagway. I had found a review in this forum about a tour and we went with it. We are so happy we did. Dyeadavetours.com Our driver/guide's name was Shelby. She was great. Very knowledgable. Don't let the cruise scare you into thinking you must take their tours. Remember, AK is US and everyone speaks english. :) No reason not to go with an independent. Our tour took us all of the way into the Yukon, to Emerald Bay and Carcross. The cruise train tour (cost is $160 up) they push so hard only went to Fraser. We went 60 miles past into Canada. It was so much fun. The cost was only $79. We left at 8am and was back in Skagway at 3pm. After the tour we visited the Red Onion Saloon. They have a 15 minute tour of the brothel above the saloon. We found out later there are several tours of brothels. Skagway isn't a working town. It is a tourist town. There are about 800 residents in the summer, and most leave in the winter. Only about 250-300 stay. The next port was Juneau. This is the only day we had rain. But it was still a warm 58 degrees. We docked at 7am. We were lazy and got off the ship at 9am. The independent tours were outside and offered us a $90 whale sighting tour. The cost for the cruise was $165. It is worth waiting to select a tour. The third port was Ketchican. This was my favorite port. A sunny day and we opted for shopping and looking around. We were only there 5 hours. We passed all of the cruise shops and walked 3 blocks to Creek Street. We found many handmade items there. This is a beautiful place. Water, mountains, and lots of trees. I would visit this town again. The population is only 18000. The last port was Victoria, BC. We were not able to stop due to high winds. It didn't matter to us. The docking time was for 7:30pm and back on board at 11:30pm. Overall - this was a fun cruise. The crew are so nice and helpful. They must train to have the patience they display. I have to mention - disembarking was so organized and fast, we are still talking about it. They called us at 9am, we were through customs, had our bags, shuttled back to the car, then at the airport at 10:45. That is being organized. A few things to note: the food was alright, they are cooking for 2100 people. I did see people who must have really enjoyed the food since they ate alot of it. We did visit the Nouveau Restaurant one evening. This is a must! We had the best service and best food we have had in quite a while. They had two elegant nights in the dining room. Don't let the word elegant scare you away - we saw a few elegant, but mostly smart casual. Entertainment was not so good. I was expecting more than kareoke and an electric guitar player playing to music. Note that the casino allows smoking. Also, there is a place called Club Cool that allows smoking. You are not supposed to smoke cigars indoors, but they did anyway. It was hard to breathe with all of the smoke, so we couldn't stay to hear that band. We did hear the band is pretty good. This was a fun cruise and the ship is beautiful. I would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Boarding was very smooth, but a bit long in Seattle. Our luggage arrived to our room without any issues. Tough to get elevators when you first board because of the elevators being used for baggage movement. It was perfect having a ... Read More
Boarding was very smooth, but a bit long in Seattle. Our luggage arrived to our room without any issues. Tough to get elevators when you first board because of the elevators being used for baggage movement. It was perfect having a cabin with french doors so you could open them and get fresh air. It didn't matter that we had an obstructed view by the life boats, as long as we could get fresh air. We had the doors open every night. The cabin AC didn't seem to work well or at all. Room safes are locked by using your sail and sign card. Only problem with this is if there are two of you and one of you uses your sail and sign card to lock it, your spouse or cabinmate can't open it unless you are in the room. Would much prefer a number coded locking system like in most hotels. The overall food was very good. The dining room food was perfect every night. The choices were plentyfull. The wait staff was great. Not pushy. Not fake. The nightly wait staff show was always entertaining. All other food choices were good to very good. Some breakfast items were not warm enough and eggs were watery at times, but overall no complaints. There was ice cream and frozen yogart 24/7. Cabin was always kept clean and neat by Jeffrey!! He also always made sure we had ice in our room. I think they actually cleaned/entered our room 3 times a day. A very multi-cultural staff was always pleasant and willing to assist you. No matter where you were on the ship. The spa services were good, a bit pricey I think, but good. I had a message that was good, but aftwords they sold me a bunch of stuff that I didn't really want or understand that it was costing me money until she brought me my receipt to sign. I ended up returning it all the next day and received a full refund. I went to a "reduce back-pain" seminar. Was surpsised to find out it was an informercial for the Good Feet product. However, I ended up buying a set of Good Feet for $189, which they said was $90 off of the regular retail price. And the kicker, they actually worked at reducing my back pain!!! The casino is rather small and at times can contain the usual idiots that you will find in any casino. Most of the dealers were nice, some were very difficult to understand due to their language barriers. It rained almost the entire time on the cruise. BEWARE!!! All of the commercial (not locally owned) stores you will find in every port you go to. There are smart shuttles to take you from the pier to the stores. 2$ each way or 15 minute walk. In the rain, I'm paying the 4$!! Multiple stops in town so you can get off an hop on any where. My reccomondation, get off at the start of the route and get on at the other end of town. Easier to get a shuttle with open seats. We took the Jeep Adventure tour. Not what we expected. The excursion information led us to believe you were 4-wheeling in the back country for 5-5.5 hours. Not the case. You end up driving a highway for about 63 miles. Great views, but its a highway. The stop and let you get out at the half way point and then take you up a mountian road to do some 4-wheeling in an open area. Fun, but thought we would be doing that the entire trip. On our way back, it started snowing. The Jeep did not handle well in the snow. I also don't care for bridges or hieghts. My wife ended up driving a lot. In the Canadian territories the driving was better for me. Some nice commentary over our radios by the lead tour guide, who is not native to Alaska. Overall, I'm glad I went on the excursion, but woulndn't reccomend it if you also take the train ride like we did. The train ride was great. Juneau was the best shopping place for us. We were the next to last cruise for the season. Most everything in the stores were 30-50% off or MORE!! Kick myself for not buring more in Juneau. Not enough time in port to do excursions and shopping. My wife and I split up. She did the white water rafting tour which was great. Ketchikan was a nice little port. Smallest of them all, but still not enough time in port to shope and do excursions. We watched the lumberjack show, which I didn't want to see, but it was very good. Great funny guys and great at what they do. Reccomend the show. Still not enough time in port!!!! Victoria was supposed to be our last port, but we never made it there. The schedule had us in port for 4 hours, which I think is a waste of time. Not much to do in 4 hours at all by the time you figure on debarking and embarking times. As we were coming in to Victoria, we were told that the winds were to strong for us to dock....????????? Found that very intersting. We ended up anchoring in the bay for several hours and then continuing on our way back to Seattle. Now, the problem with this is that as soon as you enter Canadian waters, the shops and casinos have to close.............so, no casino or on-board shopping while we were sitting in the bay. NOT GOOD!! They did add a couple of onboard shows and bingo, but that was it. They should have compensated us monetarily for missing a port. They did reimburse us $17.85 for the taxes and port fees for Victoria, which they didn't have to pay because they didn't dock there. I would strongly reccomend dropping the Victoria port in lieu of adding more time to Ketchikan and Juneau. This was my biggest complaint of the entire cruise and I heard it from a lot of other passengers as well. Overall, I would give the cruise an 8.5 out of 10. Good and plenty of food. 95% of the staff were great. Bed was fantastic, in fact much better than most hotels I've stayed in. Never woke up when they docked. Drinks are a bit expensive, especially after they add their mandatory 18% gratuity. Average drink (Crown Royal and 7up/Siera Mist) was nearly $8.00. I didn't choose to buy the all you can drink card because I wouldn't have drank enough each day to be worth it. They need to make this cruise either 8 days instead of 7 and/or drop Victoria from the itinerary. That would make this a much better cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
August 28th sailing on the Carnival Spirit. Probably our favorite vacation to date an we've done our share of traveling. We arrived in Seattle the Saturday before the cruise. We splurged a bit and opted for car services for our ... Read More
August 28th sailing on the Carnival Spirit. Probably our favorite vacation to date an we've done our share of traveling. We arrived in Seattle the Saturday before the cruise. We splurged a bit and opted for car services for our transportation. We used Sabre Limo- reasonable, no issues. We stayed at the Fairmont Olympic for 3 nights prior. This is one of the older hotels in the city but it is a wonderful experience. We had the good fortune of being upgraded to a suite. The service exceeds all expectations. Just pickup the phone and you are immediately greeted by name. You must experience room service if you stay, another not to be missed experience. Poached eggs over crab cakes with all the fixings came to nearly $70 for two. Hard to believe- but completely worth it! We had the typical tourist experiences while visiting Seattle- Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Underground Tour and a harbor cruise. All quite enjoyable. We scheduled our limo pickup for 11 am on Tuesday. The port is very close to downtown and we arrived at the terminal in 15 minutes. The porters grabbed our bags and we went to check in. We were in line less than 5 minutes and we had our sign and sail cards. Our embarkation group was called shortly thereafter and we were on the gangway to the ship exactly 60 minutes after leaving our hotel. Our first impressions of the ship were quite good, well appointed and pleasing to the eye. The ship was spotless as typical from past experiences with Carnival. A quick lunch from the buffet and we relaxed on the Serenity Deck. We missed the announcement but we began exploring the ship and found our rooms ready by 2 pm. Angel from Peru was our steward and he took great care of us. We found a blown light bulb and had a problem with the TV remote. We just left a note before dinner and everything was taken care of when we returned. Luggage arrived while we were at dinner. Our only complaint during the entire trip was early dining got moved up to 5:30. Far too early, we were never hungry and always seemed to be hurried to get cleaned up prior to dinner. A major consolation was our table location, dead-center aft window table. Fabulous! Our head server was Alexsander from the Ukraine. Alex and his team were easily the best team we have experienced with Carnival. We lucked out with weather the entire trip. The crew constantly commented that we were experiencing the best weather of the entire season. We were able to sit out on deck during our first sea day with just light coats. As long as you were out of the wind you were fine. We visited the Noveau Steakhouse on the first sea day and enjoyed a terrific meal. We did the Chef's table the following evening and it was very good. We did the Chef's table on the Pride in 2011 and we were just blown away. Maybe this is one of those experiences that are once in a lifetime? It was good but it seemed to be missing the magic we previously experienced. Still highly recommended if you have not experienced it before. We enjoyed a couples massage during our second sea day. We scheduled it for 2:30 in the afternoon, the exact time the ship was going to begin turning around in the close quarters of Tracy Arm Fjord. The spa staff, not wanting us to miss our last view of the glacier threw an extra blanket on us and opened up the curtains for a few moments to enjoy the sights (and to let our fellow guests see us wrapped up for a massage). In Skagway we did the Laughton Glacier hike and train trip. Awesome! Not a terribly demanding 8 mile hike other than the need to be constantly vigilant for your footing. One miss step and you'd find yourself being carried out with a broken ankle. Having lunch on a glacier was so worth it. The guides were great and very safety conscious. In Juneau we experienced our only overcast day of the trip. We did our obligatory t-shirt shopping in the morning and then checked in for our 11 am Glacier kayaking trip. Unfortunately when we checked in they advised that it was too windy and the trip had been cancelled. We were promptly refunded our excursion fees. We wandered around town a bit more and stumbled into a little indoor farmers market. Clearly for the locals but we were welcomed with open arms and bought some locally made jellies for home. In Ketchikan we did the salmon fishing. They weren't jumping in the boat but we ended up with two fish that we had processed and are anxiously awaiting their arrival from the smoker. Victoria was a cute town. We hired a local driver, Maggie, for a quick and enjoyable tour of the city and we were in line for pizza on the Lido deck by 9:30. Then, as quick as it started, it was over. Debarkation was easy and we were on our way home. We caught a great deal while on board the ship. 7 night Caribbean from San Juan, extended balconies for less than $600 per person. Couldn't pass it up and have something to look forward to next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was our second cruise with Carnival (previous cruise was on the Carnival Dream in Jan 2012) and it was really fantastic. First off we drove to the port and parked and the "Cruise and Park" which was $30 cheaper per week ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Carnival (previous cruise was on the Carnival Dream in Jan 2012) and it was really fantastic. First off we drove to the port and parked and the "Cruise and Park" which was $30 cheaper per week than the parking at the cruise terminal. This parking was less that 5 minutes from the terminal and the shuttles ran very regularly. We were amazed at how fast we were able to get onboard.....I would say less than 30 minutes. We were also able to bring two bottles of wine, a case of water, and a case of pop on board with no problems. The ship itself is a nice mid-size ship. Very easy to navigate. It is showing it's age in the carpets and on the corners of walls and elevators. Overall it's still a pretty ship. Our cabin was really well laid out with the queen bed and the bunk beds. I liked our location as we were located close to the atrium in the middle of the ship.....when we went up to lido we were in the middle of the buffet. Food: The food really exceeded my expectations. The buffet was pretty standard. I really liked the pizza when I was willing to wait for a fresh hot piece. Enjoyed getting hot chocolate and cookies every afternoon. The hamburgers and hotdogs were not great- but the fries were fabulous. The sandwich bar was very tasty and had a great selection. The really good food was in the dining room. One night we had lobster that was so tasty, I also found all of the soups they offered very good. One night they served crab cakes- and they were the best I had ever tasted! I also had the chocolate pot for dessert every night- it was fantastic! A lot of the other dessert were very yummy. I also found the dining service at dinner was great- they were very pleasant and efficient. I did however find the service at lunch hit and miss. The supper club- for $35 per person was amazing! really worth going to. Had the surf and turf and it was soooo good. Everyone in my eight person party was blown away by the food and service- it was a special experience. entertainment: the people over 50 years old in my party loved the production shows. I have seen 15 real NYC broadway shows and at least 6 Cirque du soleil shows- so to me these were less than fabulous and very cheesy. One of the male singers sounded like Clay Aiken....and not in a good way. However the seniors in my group were very excited about both shows. I loved the mid-night comedy shows and Doug in the piano bar. we also liked the hawaiian guitarist in the atrium....he was fun. I also loved going to the art auctions- but it's not for everyone. As for the ports: Skagway was not very intersting- but we did do the 3 hour train trip and that was fun. We booked off the ship...which was cheaper but was a ten minute walk away.....the same train pulls right upto the ship and picks up the people who have purchased their tickets on board. Juneau was pretty- we actually bought a $19 tours off of the ship to the Mendall Glacier....that was great. The tour was 2 hours and the glacier was beautiful with a really nice visitors centre. YOu can walk around, get great photos, and watch a 20 minutes movie about the glacier. A good value for sure. Next was Ketchikan- this was a favourite stop. It was also the only sunny port we went to. This was a great place to do your shopping. I bought some great bronze alaskan coins for my kids. Victoria- we did not get off as the city was not within walking distance and we got there in the evening. Travelling with a 2 year old and a 5 year old.- Camp Carnival was well organized and the workers were great. They have us a phone to call us when our children needed us. They opened at 10am every day and earlier on port days. Our kids often went from 10am-noon and then we dropped them off for dinner every night- which was great because it gave us a chance to have a leisurely dinner in the dining room. They were quite organized in hosting a dinner for the kids every night. They had some great activities for them in Camp Carnival- like decorating t-shirts, movies, games, etc We often got room service for the kids every morning which was nice. They could watch cartoons and have toast and cereal in bed every morning. I did find it sad that we could not go in the pool or hot tub- not because they weren't open- but it was too cold! I also wished they had more activities in the morning. Overall Carnival did not disappoint- will be going back to the Dream in January 2013! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Since I read so many reviews before sailing, I thought I would try and give details from our cruise to help other cruisers. We were on a Quilting Cruise through Travel Connections in Illinois. My business partner and I were teaching on the ... Read More
Since I read so many reviews before sailing, I thought I would try and give details from our cruise to help other cruisers. We were on a Quilting Cruise through Travel Connections in Illinois. My business partner and I were teaching on the cruise while the ship was at sea. It is a great way to go if you are a quilter! In case you are wondering, you don't have to bring a machine. Bunny has a dealer on board with all of the machines. Also, bring your husbands. This is the third quilting cruise and our husbands have gone every time. There is plenty for them to do on the ship while you are quilting. We flew into Seattle the day before our cruise. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Sea-Tac near the airport. We purchased the package that included all of the transfers. They picked us up at the airport, took us to the dock, picked us up at the dock and returned us to the airport. It was wonderful! The rooms were very nice and the transfers were great. All for around $160. Some of our group went to the Space Needle and thoroughly enjoyed it. Getting on the ship was very easy. No problems. We found that each person could take on a 12 pack of soda and 1 bottle of wine. The Spirit is a BEAUTIFUL ship. We have taken two other Carnival cruises and felt this ship was the best. The cruise director was everywhere and did a fantastic job. Our wait staff was also excellent as was our steward. We took the "To The Summitt" excursion in Skagway. It was really nice. We liked that we could get off of the small bus and take pictures all of the way up. Our guide was very knowledgeable. We had beautiful weather the whole time we were in Alaska; however, I was prepared with rain gear and umbrellas. As they say in other reviews, dress in layers! After the tour, we had lunch at The Red Onion Saloon. Delicious! There is a quilt shop near the Saloon called The Rushin Tailor. Don't miss it! Lots of kits and Alaskan fabric. A delight to the quilter's eye! I am a shop owner and thought it was wonderful! In the afternoon we took the Skagway Streetcar tour. Once again, the guide was very good. The info on these excursions overlapped a little, but we really enjoyed them. We did lots of shopping in this town since we had the most time here. In Juneau, we took the Mendenhall Glacier and Wildlife Quest. We were able to see many humpback whales. If you think you are going to see the whales jump out of the water, you will be disappointed. You just see the tops of them and their fins. The Mendenhall Glacier was really cool. There just isn't enough time. We only had 1 hour at the glacier and it took 51 minutes to walk to the farthest point. We only had about 45 minutes in the town. My business partner was able to make it to the quilt shop and really enjoyed it. You must be back on ship 30 minutes before it leaves. In Ketchikan, we went to The Lumberjack show. It was very entertaining. The town is so quaint! Don't miss The Silver Thimble Quilt Shop. The owner is great and opened at 7 AM for our group! It is on the second floor of a shopping center and very close to the Lumberjack show. LOTS of Alaskan fabric and kits. We got to meet the owner and thought she was very, very accommodating. You can even have the quilt stores ship things home for you! This town is a great place to buy salmon to take home with you. We did not choose an excursion in Victoria. Kind of wish we had, but we thought we would just walk around. Make sure you get off of the ship. The town is beautiful and so well kept. Flowers everywhere. We took the bus into town and our kids walked. What a wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I traveled on the Spirit to Alaska on my Honeymoon last year with my husband. It was our first cruise experience. We chose Carnival because they offer a wedding registry program, where your wedding guests can make purchases toward your ... Read More
I traveled on the Spirit to Alaska on my Honeymoon last year with my husband. It was our first cruise experience. We chose Carnival because they offer a wedding registry program, where your wedding guests can make purchases toward your trip. We found this to be a great way to supplement our costs and it cut down on cumbersome gifts to transport home after our destination wedding. We found the redemption of the honeymoon gift credits a bit clunky as they wanted to send us a check for the total value to reimburse us after we returned from our cruise. We complained via email, as we wanted the value actually applied (as advertised) toward our cruise excursion, rather than to pay up front and be reimbursed weeks later. Carnival was quick to correct the issue and our funds did end up being applied correctly to our cruise balance during the trip. Being as this was our first cruise, we arrived extra early to the terminal as we didn't know what to expect. We found the embarkation process easy and efficient. The line was quick moving and we were checked-in before we knew it. We were pushed through another line for a quick cheesy photo and then we waited to be called for boarding. Since we arrived early, we had a while to wait but with limited seats as the terminal was already filled so we had to sit on the floor. The lack of seating in the terminal waiting area is my only real criticism for the embarkation process, and I'm not sure that is really Carnival's fault. Once we were called, we boarded with ease. It was all very smooth and quick. Upon entering the atrium of the Spirit, I was struck by the overwhelming tackiness of the lobby. I don't mean that in a bad way, it was kind of cool... like a throwback to the glitzy gold Vegas casinos. The atrium had soaring ceilings, with gold framed glass elevators, draped with rows of lights that caught that your eye as they travel slowly up and down. On the other side of the atrium, a bar was nestled between a grand staircase that descended down around each side of it. Whether you like the gaudiness or hated it, it was quite eye catching nonetheless. As we were heading straight for the previously mentioned atrium bar, we we passed a table doing a sales pitch to sell the new all-you-can-drink bar package. I don't recall the exact name of the package, but it was just that... an all you can drink package, where you pay a flat price for unlimited drinks. It was a little spendy but not much over what we had budgeted for drinks... hey, it was our honeymoon so we had budged quite a bit. So, we decided to take the plunge and buy the package. I'm not sure if we "got our money's worth" but we sure had fun trying all the different fancy drinks throughout the cruise. One thing I would recommend when you are considering this deal is not to forget the limited time you will be drinking on board during port days. We figured a certain number of drinks per day to make the package worth it, but forgot that we would have a lot less hours to achieve our "quota" on port days. We had dinner in the main dining room 6 nights and the steakhouse 1 night. The main dining room was a bit drab and could use some freshening up in the near future, lots of big bold patterns competing on various surfaces throughout the space. Our waiters were attentive and recalled our preferences after the first day, which was a nice touch. Our bartender, Tinkerbell (as she went by), was friendly but did seem spread a bit thin. Sometimes it took a little longer than it should have to receive our beverages. The food was good, not great. We tried a variety of items, some were very tasty and others just so-so. We missed lobster day, so I can't speak to that personally but our table-mates said it was good but the size of the tail was on the small side. Dinner at the steakhouse was very good. The decor is a little more contemporary and fresh, compared to other areas of the ship. The restaurant is located on an upper floor and we were seated with a lovely view of the ocean at a quite two-top. The service was excellent, even better than the main dining room. I had the fresh fish and my hubby had NY strip for the main course and I had soup and my hubby had escargot for the appetizer. The meal was memorable and worth the money. We didn't spend much time in the casino. It was really smoky in there and it bothered me, so we pretty much just passed through. We went to two of the comedy shows, unfortunately I don't recall the names of the comedians. One was pretty funny, probably equivalent to a good opener at a good land comedy theater, and the other was terrible, we actually left in the middle of the show. Overall, I wasn't too impressed with the caliber of comedy. We didn't see any of the big live shows during the cruise, but we did attend some of the informational talks given by the on-board naturalist. Those were very interesting and given during the day. We went to one on Alaska wildlife and one on glaciers. I feel that the info we learned helped us better appreciate our experience during our excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
My husband and I had a fabulous honeymoon aboard the Carnival Spirit on the August 7, 2012 sailing. It was my third cruise and first on Carnival, and his first cruise ever. After getting married on Saturday, we arrived in Seattle on ... Read More
My husband and I had a fabulous honeymoon aboard the Carnival Spirit on the August 7, 2012 sailing. It was my third cruise and first on Carnival, and his first cruise ever. After getting married on Saturday, we arrived in Seattle on Monday for a cruise that left on Tuesday. I highly recommend getting there a day or more early. First, it's far less stressful. Second, Seattle is an awesome city! We had so much fun exploring this city which was new to both of us. We had booked the cruise through Priceline and got a free night in a hotel. We chose the Pan Pacific Seattle, which was awesome. Great location, great room, and helpful staff. Some of the must-see attractions are Pike Place Market, the first Starbucks, Pioneer Village (but avoid at night), Space Needle, and the Troll Under the Bridge in Fremont. Honestly we could have spent the whole honeymoon in Seattle! But we were very excited to board the ship on Tuesday... We splurged on veranda room, and I'm glad we did. We didn't spend as much time out there as I had hoped, as it got extremely cold at times. The room was big enough and about what I expected. There were thick robes in the closet for our use which came in very handy on the chilly balcony. Our first full day was a Fun Day at Sea. We enjoyed exploring the ship, but a MAJOR strike against Carnival is the pushy sales. We went to a scheduled activity in the spa that was supposed to help with back pain, and that turned into a sales pitch for shoe insoles. We tried to go to a seminar in the theater that was supposed to tell about activities onshore that was nothing more than a sales pitch for diamonds and various other goods. The other activities were pretty lame for us. Lots of trivia, Bingo at $20/card, etc. They really could try to have some more exciting things to do, especially on at sea days. Tracy Arm is so amazingly beautiful. I was so happy to be able to view it from my own balcony, even if I occasionally had to go inside to warm up. I just could not get over the colors and beauty of the fjord. I'm glad that I did not do the excursion on the small boat that gets up close. While it would have been fun, it was also cold and wet, not to mention pricy. We missed our opportunity to see a bear when we went up for food. Should have gotten room service :( On that note, the buffet food is really not great. I had read reviews saying that and did not worry because I'm not really picky, but honestly I really couldn't find much. The International Station repeats constantly. On a 7 day cruise, they should be able to have food from 7 different nations. Instead, they just repeated Japanese, French, and Italian. I guess there are always chicken fingers and fries. The dining room did not disappoint, however. I never had a bad meal...in fact, most were delicious. And the best part is the daily chocolate melting cake! After the first couple of days, we stuck to the main dining room. It was a little disappointing that these were our only 2 options. First stop was Skagway. It was by far the longest port we stayed in at 14 hours. It was okay, but too long. Some people love the train ride. We did the zip lining adventure, which was fun but not the most challenging course. Still, we can say we zipped in an Alaskan rain forest. We walked around the historic town, but really there isn't much there. Again, I'm just not sure why we spent so long in this port. The next day we stopped in Juneau. I REALLY would have liked more time at this one. We walked around town, saw the governor's mansion, and shopped a bit. Then we did a dog sledding adventure (which was more like a demotorized golf cart pulled by the dogs since there was no snow). It was a great experience, but more expensive than it should have been. We did get to play with little puppies (but I felt bad for the little things being handled by so many people, including less-than-gentle children). And just like that, our time in Juneau was over. I would have loved to have seen the Mendenhall Glacier via busride, but there just wasn't time. Our time in Ketchikan the next day was even shorter!! We didn't plan any excursions so it wasn't such a big deal. All we did was walk around and shop some more. The same goods can be found in every port. Ketchikan was more commercialized than Skagway, though. Last was an evening stop in Victoria, BC. I really liked this port. Beautiful, clean city, but dark, cold, and windy at night (we arrived around 7pm). Most everything was closed when we got there, and you have to take a bus or taxi into the city. Still, I enjoyed walking around. Finally we found ourselves back in Seattle, where we had one more day to enjoy before heading home. My Complaints: *Again, I seriously hated being nickeled and dimed at every turn, especially since they were so pushy. On our last night, a waitress actually said to us "Don't you two drink? I've never seen you with one." Yes, we both drink occasionally, but not for $9 per drink. Not that it's any of her business...I found that to be a rude question. *People had warned us that we would be the youngest people on the ship by about 20 years. Not so. I do not have a problem with kids AT ALL, actually, I like them. But their parents need to stop them from cannonballing over people's heads in the hot tub and running into people carrying hot drinks. Not Carnival's fault, but be warned, there may be many children. TIPS: *If you want to see wildlife, your best bet is to take an excursion. The only things we saw were a bald eagle and some wild salmon. *Be sure to pay attention to the amount of time spent in ports. I was seriously disappointed with this. *Don't book your excursions through Carnival and save money. *Eat the chocolate melting cake every day. Overall, great trip on a decent ship (decorated in more of a Vegas style than an elegant one). I may or may not do Carnival again, but I am so very glad I got to sample what this great state has to offer with my new husband. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Aloha everyone, It might be long, but I'm hoping there's a thing or two that can make your trip more enjoyable. We flew into Seattle a day early and stayed a day after we returned from our cruise. Our three daughters and ... Read More
Aloha everyone, It might be long, but I'm hoping there's a thing or two that can make your trip more enjoyable. We flew into Seattle a day early and stayed a day after we returned from our cruise. Our three daughters and each of their guest had never been to Seattle before so we did the typical tourist, or first time guests, things. We found a small family restaurant serving local ( to Hawaii ) food called Kauai family restaurant, the food was great. Kalua pig and cabbage, chicken katsu, saimin, fried rice, etc. We visited Pike's and the surrounding vendors, couple of great bakeries and fruit stands, seafood was over-priced. We stopped by Space Needle for a quick visit. We headed to the Premium Outlet Mall in Everett and spent about two hours there. There is a huge casino called Tulalip right next door and a shop called Cabelos( ?? similiar to a Bass where they have hunting, fishing, boating ) next door also. We stayed at the Radisson right next to the airport and stopped by the mall about two miles away to pick-up last minute things from Target. Now the fun part, the CRUISE. We had a party of eight. Me and my wife, our three daughters, and they each were invited to bring a guest. We arrived at Pier 91 about 1:00pm and had one of the skycaps handle our bags for us. He took all ten of our suitcases and we didn't see them until they were brought to our room at about 3pm. We tipped him $10.00. The check in process was very smoooth and in about 20 minutes we were in our room. As soon as we boarded the ship we put our hand carries in our room and proceeded to have lunch at Level 9, Lido deck, restaurant called La Playa. Misc : Bring your own binoculars, ships ones are expensive to rent or buy. Bring a walkie talkie like system to stay in communication with your party. It can be almost impossible to find each other at times. Rooms : on the small side, but ships are known for having small rooms. You don't spend much time in the rooms anyway. Don't spend the extra for a balcony, not many people stay on their balconies because its too cold. Bring apower strip that will allow you to charge more than one phone/camera/etc at a time. Bring a large bar of soap, the one that they supply is very small. They have ample shampoo and body wash in the shower. There is a hair dryer in each room. Food : The La Playa retaurant/buffet on level 9 was pretty good. The standards were pizza, hot dogs, burgers, chicken strips, fries, chili, soft serve ice cream, salad bar, deli, and a dessert station. The menu for the main dishes would change daily from chinese to mexican to american, etc. My personal favorite was the hot pastrami sandwich with swiss cheese on rye from the deli. Salads were fresh, soups were tasty. The views from here were outstanding. The Empire restaurant on level 2 and 3 was much nicer than Lido and the food was better, go there as often as you can. We spent the $35/person and had dinner at Nouveaux Steakhouse. The food was great. Appetizers like crab cakes, escargots, shrimp cocktail, etc. Salads like tableside caesar, warm spinach with blue cheese. Soups like lobster bisque. Desserts were good. Entrees were limited to one, $20 if you wanted a second one. They were very good portions of rib eye ( 18 oz. ), filet mignon ( 9 oz. ), 12 oz. lobster tail, lamb chops. Aside from the main entree you could order multiple selections. Sushi bar on level 2 from 5p to 8p is a must. Beverages : You are allowed to bring 12-20 ounce beverages/person in addition to 2 bottles of wine. We brought 2 cases of bottled water ( mainly for brushing teeth, shore excursions ), a case of gatorade, and two bottles of wine. On the Lido deck they had free coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, and iced tea. All these drinks were excellent. Internet : I bought the four hours worth since I had to work for about 30 min each day. It was $90.00, the connection was fine. It's on the 3rd floor. Entertainment : Adult comedy was excellent, laughter is the source of happiness. Family comedy was pretty good. Demonstrations on how to make the animals in your cabin was fun. Bingo seemed to be a hit. We saw 2 of their 3 shows, not bad. Karaoke was professional at times and painful at times, very brave for the people that went up. Sports lounge was busy since the Olympics were taking place. Casino was a blast since the minimum age was 18 and we had three 18 year olds with us. Watching the three playing craps was priceless. Music at the piano bar on level 3, Shanghai room, was excellent. Lobby music in the atrium was beter than expected, Guy ( singer's name )is personable and entertaining. We didn't swim at all, but the jacuzzi was always packed. Shore excursions : Let me start by saying that ALL the shore excursions seemed overpriced, but if anyone has a cheaper way to do it, let us all know. Skagway : ziplining and rock climbing for the kids while my wife and I went shopping for the family back home, nice quaint town Juneau : we rented two private boats and went salmon fishing, 3.5 hours and caught 3 pink and one king salmon. At $240/person ( including various licenses and tip ) its something you do once and cross off your bucket list. Crew was very nice and informational. Ketchikan : Duck tour : our driver ( Don ) and guide ( Rene ) made this memorable. Many jokes and very informational. We toured the city, saw salmon in the streams, saw the salmon ladder, totem poles, and went in to the water. The kids bought duck looking kazoos, great souvenirs. Two in our party went on the crab tour where they go out in a boat on the "Dealiest Catch" show and actually pick-up crab traps with many different crabs. Again, a little pricey ( $200/person ) but since parents are paying, oh well. Truth be said, they enjoyed it. Victoria : only had 5 hours and was lucky enough to come across two couples who needed a third group to share the cost of renting a tour van. They didn't realize we were a party of 8, no problem we all fit. Nice city. Different means of transportation are available once you disembark. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We also were NOT impressed with the dining room. Food was mediocre at best. One daughter and I both got one of our favorite desserts - creme brulee - mine was pretty good - my daughter's was scrambled eggs - yuck! Another night there ... Read More
We also were NOT impressed with the dining room. Food was mediocre at best. One daughter and I both got one of our favorite desserts - creme brulee - mine was pretty good - my daughter's was scrambled eggs - yuck! Another night there was an apple dessert that I wanted to try - it said it came with vanilla ice cream - I'm still waiting for the ice cream :-( First time I've come home from a cruise a half a pound lighter than when I left - I guess that is a good thing. We had a fun morning when my father challenged my oldest to eat 10 whole grapefruits - she was successful and he paid her $20. Our cabin steward was AWESOME. His name was Yuda - we called him Yuda Man :-) Alaska - we LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it and my oldest after meeting the guys who took care of us zip lining (who by the way knew our names after about 5 minutes - unlike the dining staff) and the girl who drove us out to the Dog Sled Musher Camp - is now looking into going to Alaska next summer as a tour guide. Not sure what the point of stopping in Victoria was - I would have rather more time in either Juneau or Ketchikan. We too took advance of the Luggage Express (is this a new feature? are all cruiselines doing this? I don't recall this being offered before). What a terrific service - especially seeing I was able to check all bags under just me and didn't have to pay the $20 for each of my girls - I was able to check them in on my phone. My mother after much searching found the quilting group and enjoyed meeting up with them. While in Seattle we had a dinner at the Crab Pot - FANTASTIC and we went to the Chihuly exhibit - that was TERRIFIC. End up with about 500 photos - making a vacation dvd for my parents. It really was terrific for my kids and I to get so much time with my parents. All and all it was a terrific trip and I'd really like to go back one day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
My husband and I had hoped that friends would join us on this cruise but we wound up taking it alone. But that's ok -- on a cruise you are bound to meet people. We found one couple that got married at the same place we did and about ... Read More
My husband and I had hoped that friends would join us on this cruise but we wound up taking it alone. But that's ok -- on a cruise you are bound to meet people. We found one couple that got married at the same place we did and about the same time and the last day I was in line at the gift shop and the young women ahead of me lived within 15 miles of me. Arrival -- I highly recommend spending a few days in Seattle. First it is less stressful if your flight is delayed and second it's a great city. I recommend the National Park Service Gold Rush Museum as an introduction to the Inside Passage. Of course you also want to see Pike's Place Market and the Space Needle. I didn't take it but I heard good things about the Duck Tour. For me the Chihuli Gardens, a new glass exhibit by the Space Needle was a must see. Embarkation -- We had a rental car and we had stayed near the airport. Looking at Hertz's site we picked a local drop off for the car. It turned out to be a concession at a repair shop about 10 minutes from the pier. They were very nice and refused a tip for taking us to the boat. We took our time Tuesday morning, visiting a Japanese Garden and then Locks and a Fish Ladder and arrived about 1:15. There were no lines and everything went smoothly. Our luggage even arrived before the safety drill. The ship was a typical Carnival Ship. I did feel that the activities staff was a little less enthusiastic than other cruises but we had good turnouts for trivia games. The first night show was the same but some of the other shows seemed "refreshed". I had trouble with the time change so we did not go to any of the comedy shows, but there were plenty of offerings. Cabins were clean, etc. Food was typical, service was good. I think in the future when comparing lines and itineraries, I might check the total time in port. Juneau and Ketchikan were way too short and as a result the lines to get on board in the last 45 or so minutes were very long (which caused me to go back into the stores and spend money there...) I took the special excursion to go closer to the Tracy Arms Glacier. About 150 of us took a smaller boat closer to the glacier than the ship can go. I read mixed reviews beforehand, the negative ones focusing on days with bad weather, so since it is a pricy trip, we split up and I left my husband and an extra camera behind. Both views were good. Neither of us saw as much wildlife as I had hoped but it was very pretty all the same. Skagway -- we rented a car and drove to Whitehorse, Yukon. We went to the visitor center and a salmon ladder. I recommend the MacBride Museum which we visited last time. Back in Skagway we walked through town. I like the stores that featured local products. Going back to the ship that afternoon was our only major rain of the whole cruise. Juneau -- at the last minute my husband went on a fishing excursion and didn't catch anything. I did the Nature Trail and Whale Watch and it was great -- we saw a bear and lots of whales including bubble feeding. Ketchikan -- last time we did Best of Ketchikan by Land and Sea -- I recommend this one. This trip we did Orca Beach Nature Tour -- it was ok but you don't learn a lot about the people of the region. Victoria - beautiful city - we had late dinner which they moved up to 7:30 instead of 7:45. We ate onboard and then did about a three mile walk to town and back. Debarkation -- all went smooth, we took our own luggage off about 8am and had an airport transfer to SeaTac. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I tried to break this down so you can just read the topics that are of interest to you. Hopefully our experiences with help others plan or anticipate! The people: Pop (82---limited mobility), Mom (82---excellent health), Sis (59), BiL ... Read More
I tried to break this down so you can just read the topics that are of interest to you. Hopefully our experiences with help others plan or anticipate! The people: Pop (82---limited mobility), Mom (82---excellent health), Sis (59), BiL (65), Niece (24), Me (46) DH (46) DD (18) and two DSs (16 & 14) Experience: Cruise #12 for my family. About #7 for my sister. Something about #50 for my parents. We cruise annually with some extended family or another. Everyone's first trip to Alaska! Port and Embarkation: Eight of us flew in the morning of the cruise. Never recommended, but required in this case for scheduling reasons. Everything went well. Purchased Carnival transfers (overpriced---use a cab) because we were flying in that day and I hoped if we were late it might work in our favor. Didn't have to test that theory, but it was a tense day for me. My sister and her husband flew in a few days early to enjoy Seattle. Embarkation was probably the smoothest and most pleasant we've ever had. Arrived just after noon, and by the time we finished at the desk, they had already called our loading number (16), so we walked right on, and up to the buffet. Cabins: We booked relatively late (Spring), so couldn't get three cabins next to each other. We were all on Deck 8 in balconies on the Starboard side. No complaints about anything in the cabins. Room steward was MASSIVELY overworked. His section went from my cabin (8215) to my parents' cabin (8259)!!!! Obscene amount of work for the poor guy and his assistants. Food: We aren't foodies, and don't do food porn. We are, however, EATERS! Food was very good in the Empire Dining Room. Missed having any Alaska-specific menus, but indulged in many other great items. Lido Deck was a little repetitive with their breakfast and lunch items. Omelette station was great, as was the pasta and calzone options for lunch. Room service woke us up every morning on time, but whether we got what we ordered was hit or miss! Entertainment: Really missed live music on the Lido deck!!! Shows were repeats of ones we've seen on other ships. The biggest disappointment was the dance club! In years past it was open early evening several times for families to use---my kids really enjoyed going to the "adult disco" for an hour or two (like 8 -- 10 pm). This year there was no opportunity at all, and my 14 yo was relegated to the "Club Cool" live music that wasn't really to his taste---lots of 70s and 80s music. LOVED Punchliners Comedy Club. They really need to move it to a larger location---it's a madhouse in there. Kids Clubs: My 16 yo son LOVES Club O2. He said this was the very best year yet for teen clubs. They did similar things to every other year. What makes or breaks the club is the other kids that happen to be on your cruise. My son met a nice group of kids who wanted to have fun...NOT pretend they were college kids on Spring Break! The only clubs my other two ever really enjoyed were on Disney, but they haven't really tried for the past few years, either. Frankly, we usually travel with some of their cousins from the East Coast they rarely see, so that becomes their "Club". Advice from my experience: Have your kid go the very first night. It will either "stick" or it won't. For us---that child is a blur with his Club O2 activity except for dinner! PORT INFORMATION---The good stuff!!! Our weather was, to quote Captain Golpi "zee veather...eeeet eeessss, vell.........yucky." CD kept saying "put on your coat and hat and get out there"! So, we did. The air is different. It tastes different. It feels different. The scenery is unreal. It was the worst weather vacation of my life, and you know what we did? WE GOT OUT THERE!!! That is my single most important recommendation for anyone. Tracy Arm Fjord: Nothing can prepare you for the experience. Moving gently through a narrow passage with binoculars in hand was surreal. Thanks to the naturalist, we saw sea otters, bald eagles and a black bear. We watched and heard the glacier calving. We ran like kids back and forth from one side of the ship to the other so we wouldn't miss an iceberg float gently by. My parents were able to relax on the balcony as waterfalls and icebergs rushed by them. Sis and her people did the excursion boat to get closer to the glacier. They LOVED it, and highly recommend the experience. Got very close to shore---and the black bear, and had a small iceberg brought on board to see and touch. Magical day. Skagway: All ten of us did the White Pass & Yukon Railway (3-hour train both ways). The tracks right next to the ship worked great for my Pop. They even golf carted him right to his desired traincar. Great scenery and overall experience---highly recommend it for extended families to enjoy something together that is not overly taxing. Later in the day went shopping in Skagway. A very quaint town that gives an interesting perspective on how early settlers managed. Juneau: Whale watching!!!! Booked a private excursion (Harv & Marv thanks to CC) just for my family of five. Can't say enough about the experience! Having a small boat was great, especially because we could decide where to go and what to do. Saw four different glaciers while out in Steven's Passage. Visited with some sea lions on a buoy, and came across a large group of whales. Saw many backs and tails in a small area from very close to us. They were, literally, heading in our direction, so our boat just sat there and watched the magnificent show. We were comfortable in the boat, and it was a magical experience for us. Visit to Mendenhall Glacier for 40 minutes afterwards was wonderful. Never enough time, but it was just a glorious location and unbelievable scenery. Sis and family got a great view from the top of the Mt. Roberts Tram, and enjoyed some light hiking from there which they recommended very highly. Ketchikan: Nothing scheduled, so we got the walking tour map and hit the (small) town! Loved the walk, seeing the salmon running, Creek Street and especially the totem poles. We really enjoyed walking around, and were stunned when a local fisherman handed Mom his pole and taught her how to reel in what had to be a 10 pound pink salmon!!!! She reeled it in, and he had her take it from the hook and carry it to his cooler while dozens of tourists watched and took pictures. She was laughing, crying and shaking it was so exciting. Don't ask me why he did it, or how he picked her out of the crowd, but it will live forever as one of our most vivid lifetime memories of my mother. He wouldn't take a penny from us, and just kept saying "She looked like she would enjoy it! She had fun, right?" The single best Ambassador of any location we have ever visited. Ketchikan will always be considered the friendliest city in the world to us. Victoria: What a frustrating place!!! Dock at 7:30 and out by midnight? Everything closes at 6 pm? Really, Carnival!?!?!?! It's a beautiful town and we enjoyed walking around. Volunteer Ambassadors were on hand upon debarkation, gave us maps and guidance. Taxi ($9) downtown was quick, and we thoroughly enjoyed their tourist corridor. Don't miss walking through the Empress Hotel and grounds---so lovely. At sea time: We enjoyed the talks given by the naturalist on this voyage---great to learn something about the area, climate, inhabitants. Boys loved the new water play area and slide that extends over the water. There was plenty of comfortable places with light background music for my parents to sit and enjoy the view through a window. Final impressions: Definitely a trip of a lifetime. Cruises are great for multi-generational groups, and there were many on our cruise. This felt like the most relaxing cruise we've had, and there was a different kind of...silence...on the ship. It reflected, I felt, the locations we were visiting, and changed the dynamic of the entire week. According to my 18 yo, this was the best vacation of her life: "Not just cruise, Mom, the best vacation". And, that, my friends, is all I can say about that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Unfortunately we booked this room for the Carnival Spirit Alaskan July 10-17, 2012 cruise before seeing reviews about how bad this particular room was. It lived up totally to it's reputation. I'm turning 70 but agile but my ... Read More
Unfortunately we booked this room for the Carnival Spirit Alaskan July 10-17, 2012 cruise before seeing reviews about how bad this particular room was. It lived up totally to it's reputation. I'm turning 70 but agile but my wife recently had something happen to her back and needs a walker. this set up issues all along the way. Two things happened to set the stage to begin this cruise. First was my fault alone. I had all the paperwork for the trip in a folder and lost it on the plane in our first leg of the journey to the ship. The airline couldn't move it to our gate fast enough and we left without it. this set up the second problem. On arrival at Sea-Tac airport I approached the Carnival representative and told them of my plight. 'No problem we were told and she proceeded to make up bag tags so our luggage would be delivered to our room. Should have checked her as she wrote three different room numbers on the tags and none of them were correct. Needless to say, our luggage didn't arrive at or room but I did get a summons by Carnival security to retrieve one bag. Seeing it was locked they insisted I unlock it and proceed to search it. Finding a bottle of wine the confisacted it. I protested that I was allowed one bottle per bag as stated on the Carnival website. Nope, they would keep it and also my outlet strip as the felt I was going to take down the entire electric system on the ship if I used it. Yes, I was pissed by this time. I then found the other bag in the 'lost and found'. Nice to have to deliver your own bags to your room. I proceeded to tell the people in the Empire restaurant that I would not buy one drop of wine while on the cruise seeing they confiscated my $7 bottle whic we had to celebrate out 50th wedding anniversary. Next morning the wine was in our cabin. I digress. On boarding the ship we were told to proceed to the rear of the ship to have something to eat and found that ment the 9th (Lido) deck. What a feeding frenzy. Thought we were at the "International reunion of Wal-Mart custsomers" given the wide array of individals there. Truthfully I wondered how a number of them could have afforded the cost of a cruise, seriously. Cabin 8234 is actually a very nice cabin. Quite spacious in a bit of an 'L' shape. Large handicap bathroom that was well laid out. It has a large, 12" wide, floor drain across the door opening as well as a second drain within the shower perimeter. This of course is to catch all water should one take a shower while at sea. They do put down a mat to dry and divert the water to the closest drain. The balcony was great but you really can't use it much on an Alaskan cruise so don't waste your money on a balcaony room. That night we learned the truth about Cabin 8235. It's on the Port side right under one of the kitchens of the Lido deck. At 3 AM they start cleaning and preparing breakfast. They do this by dropping steel bowling balls from about 4" high onto the ceramic tile, glued to the steel decking, and let them roll around. They also have real nice carts with square wheels they like to drag around every so often. Couple this with the fact the room is sided by a Porter Closet and the PORTER ELEVATOR. All night long, early mornings included, they are running in and out of the closet letting the door SLAM. This is right at the head of the bed in room 8234. Nice huh? Seems that the Guest Services have never really known or understood that there was an issue with noise in this particular room. In fact near the end of the cruise I had one Guest Services Rep tell me that there was noise in all rooms on a cruise ship. Basically get over it. I complained to the head of the kitchen on the Lido deck and they actually stopped the noise. I didn't get the same results from Guest Services on the porter closet until after I had posted "Do Not Slam Door" signs myself on the doors of both porter closets. Oh, I forgot, there was also one across from our room they liked to slam. Must be they liked sterio bangs. A porter finally told me it was the closing mechanism on the doors that was the issue.I went to Guest services yet again and they got someone up there and finally on the fifth night we had no noise. Sixth night wasn't quite as good but better than earlier. The last night, forget it but it wasn't all the ships staff as there were late night revelers returning from Victoria at 2 AM yelling and hollering. Carnival did give us $650 back on our cost and a 15% discount on another cruise. Thing is, I would rather have paid the money and had a quieter cruise. This is something that Carnival doesn't seem atuned to, they are TOO money focused and think that solves everything, it doesn't. Other than those issues with the room we had a fairly pleasant cruise and did a number of excusions. The Steam Train ride up over White Pass is fantastic even with the clouds. Well worth the money in our book. We did have a family of people from india that seemed to get louder and louder. We finally moved to the back of the car. I did hang on the back platform, we were in the last car, and go some fantastic shots. I stayed out there even in the tunnels and got some shots out throught he portals. The Whale watching in Juneau was totally awsome, to borrow a younger phrase. We saw 20 humpback whales bubble net feeding and I got some real good breaching shots of that with whales coming up in the frenzy mouths open. Only walked around Ketchican. Wished the ship had posted info on local church services. Seems they don't want you giving money except to them. Victoria was quick as we docked at 7:30 PM. We did take the horse drawn trolley ride which was nice but it got rather chilly near the end. Meals in the main dining room were nice but repeated almost every day with a few changes. Overall, too much food. [grin] but that's cruising I guess. Yes, we will take another cruise and most likely Carnival again and also most likely ALaska. Just book early and get a cabin on decks 5,6 or 7 midship. Walt Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Our family of 4 (kids 13 and 19) began our trip by building in a few extra days in Seattle, which I would highly recommend. It's a beautiful, clean city with much to do and see. We were lucky with the weather - a bit overcast day one, ... Read More
Our family of 4 (kids 13 and 19) began our trip by building in a few extra days in Seattle, which I would highly recommend. It's a beautiful, clean city with much to do and see. We were lucky with the weather - a bit overcast day one, but sunny and mid 70's the next days. We stayed at the Residence Inn on Lake Union and is was perfect for our family of 4. The separate bedroom and living room gave us plenty of space and included hot breakfast was nice. Restaurants in walking distance were also very good. There is street car line is right in front of the hotel to take you downtown, and then it's short walk anywhere you want to go. ($2.25/pp, under 17 $1.25) Pikes Place Market is a must see, and we ate at the touristy and pricey, but yummy, Crab Pot. We also took a segway tour with Seattle by Segway, and our guide, Marley, was fabulous. I highly recommend doing this. We were at the cruise port by noon and on the ship by 12:40PM. Embarkation was easy and everyone was quite friendly. We had lunch on the Lido Deck and checked out the gorgeous ship. We sailed the Costa Atlantica, last year, which we found out is almost the identical ship to the Carnival Spirit, so getting around was pretty simple. I think the decor of the Spirit is much prettier than the Atlantica. Our rooms were ready by 1PM, and on our way into our cabins we were greeted, by name, by our cabin Steward Rigo. He was outstanding throughout the trip. Our boys room was a typical "boys' mess" regularly, but Rigo always made it right. I think I need him at my house! We had dinner most nights in the main dining room, and our head waiter, "Coolman" from Thailand was outstanding. Again, he knew our names day one, and seemed genuinely happy to serve us each night. He was funny, and he could really dance! The food in the dining room was never bad, but it was never exceptionally great either. There was always plenty to choose from. We had breakfast most mornings in the LaPlaya Grill. It was always busy, but we found seats eventually, and there were plenty of food choices here too. We did have room service one morning as we had an early excursion. This, too, was fine, but limited in choices. One morning we ate in the dinning room just so we could have our awesome waiter once more. This was very relaxed and the food was good. Lunch was mostly in the LaPlaya Grill as well (if we even ate.) The choices changed daily, but there was always pizza, salad bar, burgers and hot dogs and a deli line. The burgers were downright awful, and the pizza was incredibly soggy. The salad bar was fresh and had plenty to offer. The reubens were really delicious.The guys loved the continuous flow of soft serve ice cream. We had dinner in the Noveau Steak House one evening. The presentation and service were outstanding, but the food was really just so-so. The specialty coffee bar was definitely not worth it, and although the desserts there looked incredible, they tasted awful. Entertainment on board... well, aside from the hysterical comedians, it was pretty goofy. I kept thinking of Simon Cowell's comments on American Idol "You should be a cruise ship singer." Well, yea, that's all about entertainment. We did attend some of the daily events - trivia, name that tune, etc. on our sea days. Plenty of offerings for all ages. We were never bored! We avoided the casino, as I just can't stand the smoke. Though there is a smoking section, it flows right into the rest of the casino. Not big gamblers anyway, so no big deal. The bar tenders were all nice, except for one bored guy in the sport bar. He clearly did not love his job. I had a soda card, so I would get my diet cokes at the nearest bar, and he seemed rather annoyed by this. We had a few drinks at various bars and the rest of the bartenders were very friendly. There was one pool/hot tub that was enclosed the entire trip, which was perfect for an Alaskan cruise. We were in it a few times. The open pools and the slides did get used, but for us Floridians, it was way too cold. My husband and I loved the big chairs on the Serenity deck, and it was a nice escape from the kids, though we never found kids loud or out of control anywhere on board. The adult hot tub was generally full, but we just wanted to have a drink and lounge, enjoying the beautiful scenery. They had lots of kids activities for the various age groups, though out 13 year old opted not to participate. He found plenty to stay busy. The 19 year old was at an odd age as he's too old for kid groups but too young for the night clubs. He, too, was content to do his own thing though. Our cabins (8141 - extended balcony, and 8137 - inside cabin) were great. Plenty of space and very comfy beds. The kids came to our room to sit on the balcony and watch the whales and seals and enjoy the scenery. We all had more than enough room for our ridiculous amount of luggage. A prior review mentions the noise from the lido deck at in the early hours of the morning... I did hear them putting the lounge chairs out around 5:30 AM, but it was such a small amount of noise and for a mere 5 minutes, it was certainly nothing to complain about. The neighboring balcony did have smokers, which was annoying at times, but it did not stop us from sitting on our balcony. We did excursions in Skagway (4x4Mule Tour), Juneau (Salmon Fishing) and Ketchikan (Kayaking) and you can read further reviews of those below. We would have loved more time in Ketchikan and less time in Skagway. Not sure why it's scheduled how it is. We did get off the ship in Victoria and took a cab to the town. It was gorgeous and worth getting off the ship for. I certainly would not waste money on an excision here though. $9 each way for the cab sure beats $89.00 pp bus tour. It's a great place to walk around and take pictures, have a drink and shop a bit. Leaving the ship back in Seattle was just a easy as getting on. As we were staying in Seattle on more night, and did not have a plane to catch, we had one of the last numbers for disembarking the ship. We left our luggage out the night before, and were able to stay in our cabins till 8:30AM. We then went up to the Lido deck, had a quick breakfast, and by 9AM we were called to get off the sip. There were no lines, no crowds... very easy! Overall this was a FABULOUS trip and we would sail the Carnival Spirit again! Lovely ship, super itinerary and great staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was a fantastic trip and I had a great time. July 10 -- 17th, round trip from Seattle, WA. We cruised the Tracy Arm Fjord and stopped at Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC. First time to Alaska and my third cruise ever. ... Read More
This was a fantastic trip and I had a great time. July 10 -- 17th, round trip from Seattle, WA. We cruised the Tracy Arm Fjord and stopped at Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC. First time to Alaska and my third cruise ever. We came from Texas and my hat is off to any of you forced to fly in to a port on a regular basis. We flew Southwest for the two free bags and the flights were all good, but the travel was long. We stayed at the Hyatt Place/Downtown on 6th Ave, near the Space Center. Good area, but not as close to Pier 91. The hotel arranged a shuttle (Seattle Shuttle) which we also used on our return trip. Seattle is a great place and I was glad we got to spend at least half a day wandering around. If time and money permitted, I would have loved to spend more time in the area. Embarkation was easy. We arrived a little before noon and were on the ship in less than an hour. Many people had arrived before us and the Lido buffet was crowded this first day. I don't recall exactly when we got into our rooms and got our baggage, but it was reasonable and I think we were in our rooms by 2 pm. I will say no one was really directing us anywhere, but I had been poring over deck plans for a while and knew where I was going. Many people on board and on shore commented that we had exceptional weather. There was a slight drizzly rain in Skagway, but clear skies and nice, cool temps in all other ports. Some fog and slight roughness on the last two days headed back to Seattle, but nothing I would consider a problem. I agree with the general advice of wearing layers. It was the wind that got to us outside; the inside of the ship and the dome pool area were heated. I brought a warm jacket and wore it on the glacier, but did not need it. A good sweater/sweatshirt/hoodie was fine. I never made it to the waterslides (there is always something I don't have time to do on a cruise) but did swim one afternoon and enjoyed the warm water. We also played a windy game of mini-golf. The naturalist, Michelle, was good. I attended one of her shows where she previewed the types of wildlife and wilderness we would be experiencing. I missed her other show, but was hoping to attend. I also enjoyed listening to her over the intercom, but was frustrated at being unable to hear her while in my room with the door closed. Ch. 15 was supposed to carry these announcements, but I never got that to work. Nor would I have wanted to keep Ch. 15 on in the background all day long. It was elevator music and a view of the ship for me. Our room was clean and well laid out (#4223). I believe this is an 8A category cabin on the Starboard side. The bathroom showed it's age a bit and the sleeper couch was looking a bit dingy. My cabin mate claims it was firm, but comfortable. This was my first balcony and it was nice and was used, but I do see how it makes the room smaller. With three adults in the room I would have liked to have that space back. We were also right above the MDR, but had no noise or smell issues. Very few people strolling the decks below us. Some aft movement, but nothing serious. Food was fine. Most of it was good and a few dishes were just okay. The Lido buffet was predictably crowded on the first day, but I never experienced that crowding again. Chopsticks was wonderful, as was the pizza bar and deli/sandwich area. The morning omelet station was also very good and rarely busy. They also make non-omelet eggs to order. I missed the Chocolate Buffet completely. I must have been late to lunch that day because it was taken down before I even got there. The MDR waiters sang on two nights -- the 2nd night and the last night, I believe. They also danced on either the 3rd or 4th night, but I missed both these dinners. We used drink tickets for the first time and had no issues. I'm not sure I'll use them in the future simply because it was a hassle keeping that extra paper around and digging it out to hand over. I like to save money, but it sure is easier to just hand over your sign & sail card. Entertainment was okay. I tend to really enjoy the shows, but was disappointed because the Jazz/Big Band/Mardi Gras style being promoted did not interest me. I still loved the spectacle of it all and the singing and dancing was good, it just wasn't my thing. The comedians were hit and miss for me (two of these guys were just not funny at all) and while I enjoyed the hypnotist, it felt a bit too casual. I want more pizzazz and maybe some special effects! I was also a bit disappointed that I missed some minor shows entirely due to late dining (the gender show, etc.) and on the very last day there seemed to be nothing interesting on the schedule. Luckily we were tired by that time and used the day to nap a bit. The CD, Chris, was fine, but he and his staff are not my favorite. A bit too casual for me and trying to be silly seemed to be their thing. I suspect that in real life these are funny, nice people to hang out with, but watching them try to be funny as part of their job was not as great. I do believe Chris left the ship at the end of the cruise, either for a scheduled break or a new opportunity. The ports are what Alaska is all about. We did a 3 hour train tour in Skagway, Helicopter/dog sledding in Juneau and the Bering Sea Crab Boat in Ketchikan. I do wish we had more time in Ketchikan. I recommend any of these tours, as well as just generally walking around the towns. I had hoped to do a longer train tour in Skagway that made a stop in Canada, but some members of my group did not have passports. I booked the helicopter/sledding tour in Juneau independent of the ship. We did eat in port in Skagway (Skagway Brewing Co.) and Juneau (Red Dog Saloon). Although touristy, both of these locations served good food. Perhaps we just worked up an appetite, but the fish and chips in Skagway were the best I have ever eaten. I didn't get off the ship in Victoria, partially due to the timing but also because the excursions seemed pricey and I didn't want to wander aimlessly on my own. Debarking is a breeze. We should have booked an earlier flight out of Seattle because we were at the airport by 9 am without any effort on our part. Had we tried, I am sure we could have been off the ship and through customs shortly after 7 am. Breakfast that morning started at 5:30. Overall this reads a bit more negatively than I intended. The ship is gorgeous and there is still plenty to do onboard. I swam and played mini-golf and attended most shows. Nothing really negative, but I have had slightly better experiences (food, entertainment, CD) on other ships. I'd book this same cruise again, but I'd hope for a different CD and a different run of shows. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I'm 63, from Texas, in good health, my wife younger and in great health. We traveled with 3 couples but all agreed to "do our own thing" from the beginning. That was important. Here's some things we wanted to share: ... Read More
I'm 63, from Texas, in good health, my wife younger and in great health. We traveled with 3 couples but all agreed to "do our own thing" from the beginning. That was important. Here's some things we wanted to share: First, the obvious: Prepare and plan early. Pack for cold and wet (gloves, scarf, headgear) but layered for the wonderful summer warm (60-70 degrees F) we enjoyed; Mid-July is a great time for this cruise. We had 9 sunny days out of 10, but note: that is very very unusual. Pack casual wear, pretty cool for sandals or shorts, altho we spent one afternoon sunning on the aft deck. Carnival has a great program to forward your baggage to the Sea-Tac airport at end of cruise ($20 per) - do it! (Then you can go baggage-free to see downtown Seattle and take the 3rd Avenue $2.75 metro rail to the airport.) Get a balcony cabin (cabins on decks 6, 7, and 8 are all the same). Take binoculars (our 10x25s were fine) and a good camera (long long distance shots got us eagles, two bears and a Sitka blacktail deer): this cruise is about scenery, scenery, scenery. Spending time in the casino or bars misses the whole point of this trip: we took 817 photos. Board early. In fact, come to Seattle early - it's a great city for tourists, plenty of charming, good-value downtown hotels (the Vintage Park was ours). See the marketplace, Pioneer Square, Purple Bar & Grill; take the ferry or the water taxi. Be prepared for steep San Fran-style hill-walking...seriously. As always, your being friendly to the cruise staff (all of them, from Minute One on board) will be returned ten-fold. Remember: this is not an exclusive resort where everything must be perfect. It's a cruise ship with 3,000 people: keep your expectations at a proper level, you'll enjoy your vacation more. Breakfast in the dining room is quieter and with better service than the Lido deck grill/buffet. We try all of the eating spots on our cruises, and we generally enjoy the food, but these are not 5-star eateries! The excursions are more expensive than in the Carib, but some are worth every penny. In Skagway, take the train. In Juneau ride the tram or whale-watch, eat at Tracy's King Crab Shack. In Ketchikan (our favorite port of call) get past the cruise shops & don't miss Creek Street, eat at Halibut Hole; we saw eagles everywhere there. Walk 10 blocks to downtown Victoria, enjoy the Inner Harbor. Note: In the summer, sunrise is 5 am, sunset 11 pm. As a Bucket List trip, and with the weather we had, we wouldn't change a thing. It's back to the Caribbean for us next, but we'll never forget Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We spent the night in Seattle, Wa the night before our cruise. We had ground transportation reservations with N.G Towncar to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel. Then they picked up us at the hotel the next morning and ... Read More
We spent the night in Seattle, Wa the night before our cruise. We had ground transportation reservations with N.G Towncar to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel. Then they picked up us at the hotel the next morning and offered to take us on a drive through the market area and a great location overlooking the City of Seattle before going to Pier 91. They parked so we could take several photos. N.G Towncar was there to pick up after the cruise and take us to the airport. Awesome service! The morning of the cruise went great! Great friendly Carnival employees at the terminal. All of the employees were smiling and wishing us a great cruise. We boarded the ship and went to Lido deck for lunch. Lots of people there and food was great the first day. When we got to the room I was very pleased. I had made reservations for four adults in one stateroom and was concerned about the sleeping arrangements. Room had ample space for four well organized adults. Our bags were in the room when we arrived. Dinner that evening was still great on the Lido deck. Day Two At Sea was very foggy so very little to see outside. Breakfast and Lunch on the Lido deck was still great. We had reservations in the steakhouse that night and the food was the best ever! Service was great and we received personal attention since most of the travelers were attending the elegant dinner in the Empire Room. Day Three in Tracy Arm Fjord was awesome. Beautiful sunshine weather (but very chilly). The scenery was breathtaking. Lots of people on the deck but everyone was so quiet except for Nancy, the naturalist for Carnival. It was almost a spiritual encounter. Lunch and dinner were good. Day Four Skagway, AK was quite chilly and raining. Rain in Alaska is a heavy mist. We took the "To the Summit" excursion. Doug, our guide, was very knowledgeable and pleasant. We took a couple of stops for sightseeing and photos. Even though the weather was foggy and raining, we enjoyed the excursion. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was good. Day Five in Juneau was a great weather day. We took the excursion "Juneau City and Mendenhall Glacier". The Juneau City tour was simply the drive from the pier to Mendenhall Glacier. The trip in Mendenhall Glacier was beautiful and I highly recommend it. We actually saw eagles flying overhead. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were okay. Day Six in Ketchikan was fun if you enjoying shopping. It is a beautiful little town and looked like a fishing village. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were less than OK. Day Seven in Victor BC was a short stop. We did not even get off the ship. Arrived at 7:30pm and left at midnight. Too long of a walk to get to taxi or bus. Day Eight arrival back to Seattle. Getting off the ship was a breeze and no awaiting in lines. All of the baggages were in the terminal for pick up. You may see a pattern of the food going from great to less than OK. And you will see no mention of entertainment on the ship. Entertainment was very poor. Seems like Carnival wanted us to shop in their shops and buy every photo the cruise photographers took. I will admit that the time between our first cruise and this cruise was a number of years, but there has been a definite decline on the elegance of a cruise. There were too many kids, declining quality of food and very little entertainment. We did see whales, eagles and jumping salmons. Would I do it again? YOU BET I WOULD! IT'S ALASKA! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We are not seasoned "cruisers" by any means but this was our 3rd cruise, however it was the best one we have taken thus far. We have been to Mexico on both sides and if you were to ask us which destination we preferred, it is ... Read More
We are not seasoned "cruisers" by any means but this was our 3rd cruise, however it was the best one we have taken thus far. We have been to Mexico on both sides and if you were to ask us which destination we preferred, it is Alaska hands down! First let me recommend that you spend a few days in Seattle prior to the cruise. There is so much to see such as Pike Place Market, the Queen Anne neighborhood, Pioneer Square, just to name a few. If you want an aerial view of the city, I do not recommend wasting your money on the Space Needle although taking the monorail from the Westlake Shopping Ctr. to the Needle is well worth a visit. If you want to see the city from high above, I recommend going to Smith Tower, one of the oldest skyscrapers in Seattle. The architecture is amazing, the cost is nominal, and the view is spectacular! The check-in process on the Spirit was the smoothest and quickest we have ever encountered. We were on the ship by noon, had lunch, and our cabin was ready by 1:00. We were very impressed with our Steward, Angel, as when we first arrived, he asked what our cabin number was and when we told him he said, "Oh, Kevin, Rebecca, Jessica, and Emily!". So to know our first names immediately upon arrival just amazed us! We were very pleased with their services throughout the entire cruise. The Lido Deck was in my opinion like Golden Corral Restaurant. The food was so-so. We are there for breakfast as their breakfast items were delicious, lots of variety, overall this was above average. We had 1 or two lunches there and perhaps it was the other guests that made it so disappointing. Tables were occupied by people playing cards or just looking out the window. As the signs say and our "Fun Times" newsletter says, there are lounges for that purpose. The other guests also were like cattle herds at the lines cutting, or grabbing food with their hands. Some even test tasted while in line....ick! The Empire Dining Room was the opposite! We had amazing staff...Katarina, Ignatius, and I'yomen. Again, they knew our names immediately. And they were wonderful to our daughters. It was nice chatting with them during dinner and we noticed they made all of the surrounding diners feel special. The decor of the ship was beautiful with muted tones - very relaxing. One previous cruise was on the Splendor and it was all pink! The shows were good although there weren't as many as we have experienced on previous cruises. Perhaps it's because we had only 1 fun day at sea while the others were at ports. But the shows we did see were good quality and very entertaining. It is evident the dancers and singers work very hard! Our favorite entertainment was the comedy at The Punchliner. Each night there were different comedians that they would pick up or drop off at different ports - many were from L.A. The cruise director, Chris was great. He wasn't overly enthusiastic or bubbly which translates to "fake" when I meet people like that. But he was very comical and entertaining. I think it was his being so "down-to-earth" that made everyone enjoy him on the ship. There was a naturalist on the ship named Michelle who must have never slept because she was always on the announcement system informing us of wildlife or pertinent scenic points of interest that we should see. From the ship we saw humpback whales, porpoises, bald eagles, waterfalls, etc. It is because of this I recommend a room with a balcony! We LUCKED OUT with the weather. We did not have one day of rain at any of the ports. Our first day was cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord. The Spirit does cruise down the arm but it does not get into the nooks and crannies of it. I highly recommend the Tracy Arm Fjord Explorer excursion which has a small ship pick you up and take you further into the fjord to see the twin Sawyer glaciers. An experience you will NEVER forget. We saw a black bear up close, hundreds of seals laying on icebergs, bald eagles, waterfalls, and the glaciers up CLOSE! It is worth the money to do this excursion!! In Skagway, because many of the excursions only went to one area or another, we were in port until 8pm so we wanted to see as much of it as possible therefore we rented a car. There is one highway. We drove all the way to Emerald Lake and back stopping at each point of interest. There are tons of lakes, scenic view points, and wildlife. We paid $120 to rent a car for all 4 of us...not bad when excursions cost so much more. We bought Murray's Guide for $5 which gives a detailed mile by mile guidance of where to stop as well as descriptions and when you cross into Canada (The Yukon) it switches to km. to km. This is a no fail system and you will not miss anything so I recommend buying the guide. We saw a grizzly bear along the way, we stopped in Carcross, stopped at the Moore Suspension Bridge which has a great view of Moore Creek. There are many amazing lakes...Mirror Lake which you have to see! It is the clearest, reflective water! Taking pictures of it does not do it justice. You will see the "Welcome to Alaska" sign which is a must for photo ops along with the "Yukon" sign. Waterfalls are everywhere! We saw tour buses for the excursion and they drove by some of the stops that we were at so I am glad we rented a car and took our time. We even had time when we returned to Skagway to see the Gold Rush Cemetery to see Soapy Smith's gravesite as well as a short hike further up the hill to see Lower Reid falls...very beautiful! In Juneau we did a Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest excursion in Auke Bay. Of everything Juneau has to offer, I had to highly recommend this! We saw a large number of whales up close and got to witness a rare bubble feeding, saw baby whales. The sounds the whales make were unique and I will never forget them. In Ketchikan, we shopped as this is the premier place for shopping of all the ports and we also watched the Great American Lumberjack Show. This was really enjoyable. Bald Eagles were flying above the show arena:-) We also walked to Creek Street which is another must see - it is the old bordello area for "working girls" now turned into shops. We took the tramway up the mountain and hiked down "Married Man's Trail" back to Creek Street. We also saw "Dolly's House"...she was the main prostitute that bought her house for $800 and turned it into a brothel. She also provided alcohol for the men folk ;-) It was $15 for all of us to see this and worth the 30 minutes to see it as it's pertinent history for Creek Street. Our last port was Victoria, BC. We arrived at 7:30pm and departed at 12:30am. I wish we had more time here as it was beautiful! We took a cab to the downtown area ($8) and walked everywhere else which was in close proximity of each other. We went to the Fairmont Empress Hotel - another must see! The inside is renovated but the dining area is all original hardwood and there are also pictures of past visitors like President Ford and Queen Elizabeth. The grounds are beautiful! The marina is across the street and the capitol building is down on the corner. Seeing it at night was a plus because the entire building is lit up! All in all, this was one of our best vacations. We have no compliants about the ship or staff...all exceeded our expectations! The debarktion process was just as smooth and we were driving out of Seattle by 9:30 am!! Everything we saw just on the inside passage of Alaska will forever be etched into our memories. We had rare luck with the weather - not a drop of rain and the temps were in the 60's and 70's. If you take the excursion to Tracy Arm Fjord, wear heavier coats and gloves for that as the temps drop by the glacier and the speed of the boat against the wind makes for a chilly ride! If you are taking this same vacation, please know you won't be disappointed! Enjoy yourselves!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Our group of four ranged in ages from 40-65 and had both seasoned and newbie cruisers. We all had a fantastic time on the Spirit and are sad to see her travel south in the fall! Embarkation and debarkation in Seattle were painless. We ... Read More
Our group of four ranged in ages from 40-65 and had both seasoned and newbie cruisers. We all had a fantastic time on the Spirit and are sad to see her travel south in the fall! Embarkation and debarkation in Seattle were painless. We chose "Your Time Dining" and found it worked great for us! Only once did we have to wait about 10 minutes for a dinner table - but that's less than the local steakhouse and we were waiting in the piano bar with Alaska floating by so who's complaining? Our dinners were delicious and the wait staff always friendly. Our other meals we ate on the Lido deck - YUM! If you can't find something there that suits you, I just don't know what would!!! We loved taking our coffee out to the Serenity (21 and over) deck where it was nice and quiet most days. The new "clam shells" and hammocks are fabulous! Even in Alaska we had warm and sunny days we could enjoy them. Being on the aft deck also meant less wind - so bonus! The entertainment was okay. It seemed to be going through some growing pains, but they carried on and put on two really good shows near the end of the week. Jazz Hot and then a New Orleans tribute that included a Mardis Gras celebration! The onboard naturalist - Michelle - was FANTASTIC! She was always alerting us to potential wildlife sightings in a calm and very knowledgeable way. Her shipboard lectures were also great! Our cabin was adequate and always had clean towels and ice in the ice bucket. We had a variety of towel creations and yummy chocolates! Our obstructed view meant we looked mostly at lifeboat #5, but we could see daylight, breath fresh air, and see the current weather without leaving the room. Worth the "inside" price IMHO. We enjoyed each port for what it offered, but would have liked to have traded a few of the Skagway hours for a few more in Victoria, BC. Otherwise - an excellent trip! We were lucky with weather on our trip, but this would be a beautiful ship and trip even without 80 degrees!!! HIGHLIGHTS of the trip: *Tracy Arm small boat excursion booked through Carnival for the day before Skagway. Up close to BOTH Sawyer Glaciers and saw Harbor Seals and pups! *Photo Safari by Land & Sea excursion booked through Carnival for Juneau. Mendenhall Glacier/Tongass National Forest hike and then whale watching - got to see humpbacks bubble net feeding! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My husband and I took this cruise with our married son and his wife, and his wife's parents. This was our second cruise to Alaska and a much less expensive version of the sea trip for us. Sailing Carnival ships out of Galveston had ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise with our married son and his wife, and his wife's parents. This was our second cruise to Alaska and a much less expensive version of the sea trip for us. Sailing Carnival ships out of Galveston had left me with the impression that all ships will be different, and that was the case with the Spirit. Overall, I found her staffing to be superior to other ships in the Carnival line that we have tried. It is no surprise- Spirit is a smaller ship and there is a markedly higher morale among the crew and staff... at least that is my perception. I'd like to say something about the decor of the ship. I found Spirit to be the most elegant of any of the Carnival ships so far. The only change I would make is to remove the line drawing murals in the cabin hallways and change some of the art out. There is a lot of emphasis on nude art onboard, and it is not done well in a lot of cases IMO. I did like the Polynesian art in some of the public areas- that was really very nice. The rest of it, especially in the private rooms, reminded me of what one imagines the interior of a "fancy house" would look like. Small blemishes on the overall effect however, which is resplendent with stained glass and Tiffany style lamps. The Nouveau steakhouse was wonderful- service and food were impeccable and the quality of the meal was worth much more than the $30 we paid per person. Our balcony stateroom was one of the best balconies. It was roomy and had granite countertops in the bathroom and desk areas. It had a sofa, chair and accomodated 2 persons. The TV had been changed out in drydock to a small flatscreen which swiveled to watch from the sitting area or bed. The balcony held on our sailing, one full lounge and two deck chairs with a deck table. The closets were large enough to hold clothes for 4 persons although there were only two in our room. There is abundant space in cabin 8237. There is also noise in the morning (4am) from the pizza galley upstairs in 8237. We did also have odor one day coming from that area, but we were on an Alaskan cruise and the wind quickly dispelled odor when we were sailing. During the day, the cabin was quiet- so we used the afternoon to take naps. The cabin is otherwise so nice, this was a minor disruption for us. The lido deck, which caused our problems- also was very handy to us for coffee, pizza, juice and other goodies. About the dining- it was just fine. In both the MDR and the Lido. I talked to the chef in the tour and he explicitly told me that they do not make anything too spicy and have to keep things fairly bland on purpose. I like tangy, spicy foods and the closet thing they have to that is the vegetarian Indian dish, which was quite good- though still bland by my standards. So, just know before you go- there were plenty of dishes that were tasty. Nobody lost any weight in our group. Room service BLT's were yummy!!! Love the new Serenity outfitting on the Spirit. We spent time out there even though our sailing was pretty cold. I'd like to say a word about a couple of incidents that occured on the sailing concerning crew. I am including these for the sake of the training folks without naming names... I saw several things that needed addressing. On one occasion on the first morning in the Lido, the captain was making an announcement over the loudspeaker and a crew member walking the lido was mocking him out loud. There was another incident when a venue opened after a private party later than was announced in the funtimes, and the bartender was clearly aggravated and projecting that towards people who tried to go into the venue. How were they to know? They were just following the schedule. One other thing that happened was that a server in the MDR placed a meal before my husband at lunch and then took it away after it had sat before him for awhile. That was somewhat funny to me, but I'm sure it would not have been funny to the person getting the used meal:-) Enjoyed Jay (karaoke) on this sailing. He works very hard to keep everyone happy. Enjoyed Manu and the behind the fun tour. Highly recommended. He was very informative. Our visit to the bridge was a real treat for the men in our group. Lito kept our cabin immaculately. Piano bar... what fun!!! Show singers- terrific. Especially the ladies. Very high caliber. Embarkation and debarkation were simple and pain free. We had a lot of luggage. Our group one debarkation got us to our hotel in time for us to take a nap before the rest of our party showed up. They too, just walked off the ship with no line. If anything was a disappointment on our trip, it was the weather and how that related to some of our excursions. I'm not going to badmouth specific excursions in this review but I would say that just because something sounds informative or fun, don't book it without doing some homework and finding out what people have to say. At least two of our excursions were a big waste of money. Skagway is alloted a great deal of time, and in my opinion, you really don't need that much time there for what there is to see in that area. Juneau is great for the Mendenhall Glacier... we actually saw whales onboard the ship so a whale watching excursion would have been redundant for us. Bald Eagles abound in Ketchikan near the shore- we took a Duck tour and it was great. Victoria is a beautiful little city. Try to get off the ship there to do something. I really want to underscore that it is very possible to plan your own excursions without going through Carnival as long as you can read a watchface. Just do some research before you go- you will save a lot of money and aggravation. One other word- I never, and I mean NEVER saw the CD... Chris. I saw two-socks, his sidekick around the ship but not Chris except on TV. Misty was great with the chipping games and trivia- thanks for the fun Misty even though we didn't win the coveted ship on a stick. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
As this was part of an extended holiday our first decision to make was what cruise should we take. Once we had decided on an Alaskan cruise our committed travel dates restricted us to Carnival and the Carnival Spirit. Although we struck ... Read More
As this was part of an extended holiday our first decision to make was what cruise should we take. Once we had decided on an Alaskan cruise our committed travel dates restricted us to Carnival and the Carnival Spirit. Although we struck some cold and wet weather the Alaskan scenery certainly made up for this. Flying in from Australia we were glad that we had allowed two days pre cruise accommodation in Seattle, as our connecting flight from San Francisco was cancelled resulting in an unscheduled nights stopover there. Arriving in Seattle a day late we easily found our way from the SeaTac Airport to the Space Needle Travelodge via the Light Rail and Monorail systems. So we could see a little more of Seattle in the morning we booked an afternoon shuttle to take us to the Carnival Spirit. On arrival at the pier there appeared to be a large number of people waiting to embark but it did not take us long before we were on board and in our cabin. The following are some comments about the cruise itinerary, starting with the cruise through the Tracy Arm Fjord. The scenery was spectacular, but although warmly dressed, the weather precluded us the full use of our balcony. Our arrival in Skagway resulted in our first and only fine day. Coming from the sub tropical area of Australia the long period of day light we experienced there was a welcome novelty. At Skagway we took the Yukon Scenic Drive excursion which took us into Canada and I would highly recommend for a tour. Saturday morning we arrived at Juneau and took the Taste of Juneau excursion. The Glacier Gardens are a must for anyone interested in gardening/horticulture but the Hatchery visit was overcrowded from other cruise ship tours. The Salmon Bake and it's entertainment would have been the excursion highlight. Our next port was Ketchikan where we did the Saxman Native Village & Lumberjack Show. In hindsight the short time in port is insufficient to comfortable allow for this combo excursion. Because of the short time in Victoria we had not booked any shore excursions there. Instead we considered taking a walk but the weather drove us back to the ship. The disembarkation at Seattle went very smoothly and a taxi ride had us to our hotel by 8:45am. The taxi including the tip was cheaper than the shuttle which had taken us there. Would I recommend this cruise, yes, but with the following observations. If you enjoy casual and informal cruising then the Carnival Spirit provides this. However, if you are wanting a more elegant/formal experience look elsewhere. Overall the cruise met our expectations with very few complaints. The cabin was kept clean and tidy and the wait staff efficient and friendly. The meals in the Empire Restaurant were adequate but certainly not five star. We tended to avoid the Buffet Grill area where seemed to attract the worst of glutton eating and behaviour. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Since I am the guy that is always reading these reviews to get an idea of what to expect on certain cruises, I will take the time to give the low down on the Carnival Spirit Alaskan Cruise out of Seattle. My group arrived 3 days early ... Read More
Since I am the guy that is always reading these reviews to get an idea of what to expect on certain cruises, I will take the time to give the low down on the Carnival Spirit Alaskan Cruise out of Seattle. My group arrived 3 days early to take in the Seattle Area. If you are flying in from the east like us, it makes sense to get the most out of the expensive airfare if you have the time off work. There are many things to do in Seattle, I recommend these- go to the fish market, it is very interesting and entertaining. Check out the GUM wall while you are there, your kids will thinks its awesome. There are guys throwing fish, plenty of food, and lots of people watching. Take the DUCK tour of Seattle, dollar for dollar it was the best tour we took our whole vacation. $26 for 2 hours of corny jokes and sight seeing, plus the vehicle is amphibious! The monorail to the shopping district is very nice, and if you like to shop it is all there. Seattle Center is a nice area with lots to do, I will warn you that the Space Needle is going to really disappoint you. I have seen it for years on TV and movies and my first thought was "that's it"!! It was probably amazing when it was built 50 years ago. OK on to the cruise, we left out of pier 91. The city is beautiful from the water. Getting on the ship went very smooth and lunch was being served when we got on. Our room was ready by 1pm, luggage arrived by 230 pm and we set sail at 4pm. All things went very smooth. The Spirit is a beautiful ship. The decor is fresh, it does not show signs of wear, and all public areas are well keep. The Cabins are typical, we had a balcony with an extended balcony, although it did not really seem that extended, but it was fine for us. Beds were comfortable, the room was always clean, and of course the kids love the towel animals. Lets talk about the food. I can eat just about anything and I don't really complain. The food at the buffet, which we only used at breakfast and lunch was your typical buffet food. They did grill hamburgs and hot dogs out by the pool which was good. You could get omelettes made to order. The pizza was not very good, but the pasta bar was yummy. We ate dinner in the restaurant every night. The food again was average, but there was nothing that was horrible. The service was excellent and that helped. Remember you can order any and as much as you want off the menu, so get what you want and try something new. The Entertainment was up and down. The production shows were again typical for a cruise. If you enjoy signing and dancing then you will enjoy these shows. There was a hypnotist one night and I am not buying it one bit, but it was still funny to watch. The best part were the comedians. There were a total of 4. 2 for the first part of the cruise, then in Juneau we dropped them off and picked up 2 different comedians. They do family comedy in the evening, then they have late-night adult only comedy, which is for 18 and over only. The scenery on this cruise was amazing. The mountains, waterfalls, glaciers and ice bergs will dazzle you. Wildlife for us was pretty rare. We saw one brown bear about 300 yards away, one mountain goat maybe further away, a few whale tails but never the whole whale, some dolphin fins and a few sea birds. Not what I expected, but maybe we had a bad cruise. I did see lots of bald eagles, which completely excited us tourist but seems pretty common to locals. Overall this was a great experience for my family. I thought I would only go once, but I may be back someday. If you are like me and all your cruises have been warm weather cruises, this is completely different so be prepared. Our warmest day was a balmy 60 degrees and it is almost certain to rain during your trip. Don't let that stop what you want to do. I did miss my palm trees, white sand beaches and warm blue water! I didn't even have one pina colada on this trip!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We took a taxi from the sea-tac to the ship, there were 4 of us, it was $46.00. Much cheaper than the shuttle at $27 per person. We arrived at the dock around 11:00 and were on the ship by 11:30. If you can carry your luggage I ... Read More
We took a taxi from the sea-tac to the ship, there were 4 of us, it was $46.00. Much cheaper than the shuttle at $27 per person. We arrived at the dock around 11:00 and were on the ship by 11:30. If you can carry your luggage I recommend you do so. We did not receive our luggage until 4:00. 1st day was at sea, we did the noveau steakhouse, which I highly recommend. The only complaint I had is you could hear the entertainment from the bar on the 2nd floor, it sounded like bad Karaoke. Reserve a table along the windows and you won't have that problem. 2nd Tracy Arm Fjord Amazing!! Michelle the naturalist on board is very informative. 3nd day Skagway, we were here from 7 am to 8 pm. Way too long for a small port. My motherinlaw and I did the bus/train/liarsville tour. It was fun but expensive. My husband and son did the kayaking, they had a good time, but it was kayaking in a lake, no glaciers or wildlife. 3rd day Juneau, we got off the boat and purchased a ticket from the vendors for a bus/city tour of Juneau and Mendenhall. It was $30.00, which is $15 less than the ship excursion that was similar. It was a good tour and got us back to the ship on time. Mendenhall glacier is not to be missed. 4th day Ketchikan we got off the ship and walked around. I regret not having enough time to go to the Totem city. Ate lunch at a restaurant in the mall, had an excellent grilled halibut sandwich. 5th day Victoria, beautiful city but why do they stop at night? I think that the ports of call on this cruise have been set up incorrectly! Skagway can easily be seen in 4 hours, Juneau should have been the longest day. Ketchikan could have used 2 more hours. And Victoria, should be seen during the day. The entertainment on this cruise was lacking. We walked out of the juggler/comedian show. 3 out of 4 of the comics in the Punchliner were great. My son saw the Mardi Gras show, said it was good. Food was your average Carnival fare. Not impressive, but by no means bad. The seafood dishes, tended to be the best on the Lido. The mexican buffet and Chocolate buffet were only set up in 1 station, so the lines were horrible. I would recommend a balcony room for this cruise, there is so much to see especially during Tracy Arm. Our room was clean and spacious we had an obstructed view on deck 5. We were overlooking a lifeboat, which only obstructed the view looking down. The serenity deck is awesome!! Even if it is cold, they have blankets and look out over the back of the boat. My son, was 18, I would not recommend this cruise for someone who is 18-20. There is nothing for them to do. Except the casino and hanging out with the parents :). We found that there is never anyone walking around outside on deck 3. It doesn't go all the way around, but is a nice break from people :) We carried on our luggage and were off the ship by 7:30. Overall it was a great cruise with spectacular views and experiences. When I cruise again I will probably try other cruise lines, this is my second cruise with Carnival this year, and the menus are exactly the same. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
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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