Length: 960 ft
The original Spirit; our favorite Carnival ships for its smaller size but modern decor for cozy atmosphere and top-notch serviceBest For People Who Want
a modern non mega-cruise ship with high energy and a wide assortment of activities; a budget/mid-priced range; spacious spa and fitness facilities, plenty of activities for children; balcony cabins.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Should Be Avoided by People Who Want: A quite vacation way from large crowds and children; a more subdued atmosphere.Onboard Experience
The Spirit-class (add sister ships Carnival Pride, Carnival Legend and Carnival Miracle) offer the best staterooms, food, service and FUN at value prices. They are some of the most well-designed ships in the industry, easy to navigate with good crowd flow and lovely cabins with everything right where it is supposed to be. They were the first to come out with the amazing "turned on its head" interior that makes it possible to put all the public rooms together down below and fill the upper decks with an abundance of balcony cabins, fully 80% of all outside cabins, making the outside the ship look more like a hotel than a cruise ship. The decoration on these ships is so state of the art that the fact that the entire vessel actually moves on water becomes ancillary to the experience at hand, which is just enjoying your vacation. The ship features several firsts for Carnival, from a wedding chapel to a supper club located high in the funnel and a dance club tucked away literally on deck one. TheseDecor
Carnival Spirit features public rooms with maple, marble and bronze highlights as the unifying theme. The irrepressible Joe Farcus here attempts art nouveau, combining shiny brass with French-inspired details such as carved wooden banisters and marble floors. But don't imagine that Carnival's zany designer has stuck to just one set design scheme. There are also Gothic (disco), Chinese (Shanghai Bar), Egyptian (show lounge), and Art Deco (Artists Lobby) areas. What ties them all together is the ship's energetic atmosphere.Public Rooms
Frescos covering the walls of the Spirit's Atrium to the top of the ceiling nine decks high greet passengers as they arrive on Deck 2, the Promenade. At the base of this spectacular entrance is a bar featuring a pianist or string trio playing relaxing music. The Shore Excursions and Purser's desks are also on this deck. The lovely Versailles Lounge is located on Deck 1. Most of the action on the ship is on Decks 2 and 3 where the shops, main dining room, lounges, and casino are located. The shops offer perfume, jewelry, and $10 bargains; all duty-free.
The piano bar features Chinese- inspired décor while the wedding chapel has beautiful wood paneling and frescos with angels. You can digitally alter your own photographs at the immense photo gallery. Four glass elevators take you to the Lido Deck (number 9), which features the ship's spa, pools, and fine dining, including alternative options, along with the glass staircase to the Nouveau Supper Club on deck 10. This swank restaurant requires jackets and reservations to enjoy their famous stone crabs from Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant and prime beef.
The Pharaohs Palace, featuring King Tut-inspired decor, is Spirit's primary showroom, and is located on Decks 2, 3, and 4. Also on Deck 4 is the arcade, while the Children's Funhouse is on Deck 5. Kids can be kept busy with the computer lab, PlayStation area, candy-making machine, and sand art area, all connected by tunnels. The Jungle on Deck 3, while skirting the showroom, provides a peaceful rest-place to recharge before heading back to the excitement. The passenger cabins are on the remaining decks.Cuisine
As we have mentioned before, the dining room food on Carnival is surprisingly good, much better than one would expect from a mid-price ship formerly known as a party boat. Carnival deserves a lot of credit (and they have a lot of experience) for getting this part of the cruise experience right. There are standard items on the menu every night, as well changing entrees that include low-carb and vegetarian selections.Restaurants
The Empire Dining Room is the only main venue for all 2100+ passengers serving up to 1000 people at any given time surprisingly effectively. There are booths as well as tables for two (and four, six and eight), and an annex called the Napoleon Room with tables for eight and sometimes 10. The main dining room has early (5:45 p.m. or 6:15 p.m.) and late (8:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.) seatings. The Supper Club is open from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Table service is also available in the informal La Playa Grill from 6:00 to 9:30.
The Lido restaurant, La Playa Grill, also features a variety of specialty food stations in addition the usual buffet line. The international stations offer such tasty choices as Japanese, Indian, Chinese, deli-style sandwiches, pizza and other pasta, and hamburgers and hot dogs. There is a different meat featured at the carving station daily.
If beef is your passion, you will be very pleased with the 18-ounce prime rib and porterhouse, 14-ounce New York strip, or 9-ounce filet mignon found at Nouveau Supper Club, where reservations and jackets for men are required (and a $25 charge is added to your Sail & Sign card). Obviously specializing in special occasions, they also offer champagne and caviar (at an additional charge).
Room service is available 24-hours a day, but is not really a great reason to skip a meal outside your cabin. You don't want to miss the coffee bar's delightful desserts and pastries. The pizza bar, including an excellent Caesar salad, and New York deli are also available 24/7. For dessert, there is a self-serve soft ice cream and frozen yogurt stand.Service
Carnival has developed a new way to serve its guests that ensures prompt and efficient service from friendly and courteous staff. This 'team service' concept entails four tables being attended by a headwaiter and several assistants. The enthusiastic staff learn the passengers' names and preferences, resulting in their favorite drinks, bread, and extras being on the table when they arrive. The nightly entertainment and dances performed by the staff give the whole ship a warm and informal feeling.Tipping
Gratuities include $5.50 for the Dining Room staff, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the service in the alternative dining rooms. This makes for a total of $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two). You can prepay this charge or have it automatically added to your Sail & Sign card. The pre-paid gratuities are mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere. The purser's desk will increase or decrease this amount at your request throughout the cruise. The $10 charge does not include tips for the spa, casino, room service, maitre d' or other staff. All beverage tabs have a 15% gratuity already included.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for the maitre d', room service, spa, casino and other staff are at the passenger's discretion.Entertainment
Along with regularly featured entertainers such as magicians, comedians, jugglers, ventriloquists, and various types of musicians (all at the Versailles Lounge), the Carnival's main entertainment is its Vegas-style show. This multi-million dollar production includes two singers, five male and nine female dancers, along with special guests, and is sure to leave you feeling well and truly entertained. The costumes alone cost half a million bucks!Cabins
The spacious cabins, 180 sq. feet, are cleverly designed with a subdued décor of peach and beige along with wood-toned furniture in warm caramel colors. Their layout features a sofa and vanity near the twin/king bed configuration and ample closets. Other amenities are the several movies found on the color TV everyday, hair dryer and safe. The bathroom has a shower and enough shelf space for two people, along with a complimentary basket of toiletries. Other room options are the 230 sq. feet deluxe ocean-view balcony cabin and the 245 sq. feet cabin with a 220 sq. feet wrap-around balcony. Other suites are the 300 sq. feet suite with a 115 sq. feet balcony and the 275 sq. feet suite with an 85 sq. feet balcony. The highlights of the suites and Oceanview staterooms are the well-stocked mini bar and cozy terrycloth robes. for disabled passengers are available.Fitness/Spa
Spirit's 13,700 sq. feet, two-deck gym is simply not to be missed, not even by the resolutely indolent. With floor-to-ceiling windows providing panoramic views, you may find yourself enjoying your time on any of the stairmasters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, elliptical walkers, stationary bikes, or treadmills more than ever before. There's a jogging deck surrounding the forward Sky Deck; 15 times around equals a mile. Saunas and steam rooms are available for both sexes, along with an adult only whirlpool. Steiner's of London operates the nearby Beauty Salon Classique where guests can indulge in any beauty treatment or massage they desire. Ladies are very apt to feel like Greek goddesses in the salon, which features Doric columns and Greek vase motifs as part of a beautiful mural.Attire
During the day casual attire is the norm, but don't' try to get into the dining room after 6 p.m. in shorts or jeans. There are two formal nights, but most men wear dark suits rather than tuxedos. Other evenings, men typically wear a sport coat and tie or other resort-type clothing. For the Alaska cruise, you are encouraged to bring warmer, waterproof clothes, along with comfortable shoes for outings.
After several Caribbean cruises, decided on Alaska. Best food we have had on a Carnival ship. Good service from friendly and attentive staff. Ship is very easy to navigate. So NO problems there.
Main reason for review is BEWARE of excursions. Train ride in Skagway is expensive. Scenery if beautiful but train speed makes it difficult to take good pictures if that's "your thing." Trip is basically up the mountain, flip your seats at the top of the mountain, and back down again. In Juneau, the "Dog sled/Musher Camp" has to be the worst!! A five minute ride on a cart which has NO resemblance to a dog sled is the highlight. People know about the dogs and mushing but.... well over $ 100 per person!! YUK!
Did the Rainforest in Ketchikan. Interesting, but... we did see bald eagles in the wild, evidence of bears but no sightings; had hoped for that. Expensive but probably worth the $$ if you enjoy nature. -- In Victoria, people "hawking" the bicycle tours are "pushy." It's also expensive, $120 for two for two hours. Long walk into Victoria but shuttle is available. Since you arein Victoria at night, limits what you can actually see.
Enjoyed the cruise but won't go there again
This was my 2nd cruise on Carnival and 12th cruise overall. This cruise was an 8-day Mexico Riviera cruise round trip out of San Diego, CA. I cruised solo on this cruise, as part of a travel agent FAM trip.
I flew into San Diego the morning of the cruise. I normally fly in to the departure city the day before, but since I was solo and the weather not usually an issue at this time of the year, I chanced it and just flew in on departure day. No problems as I arrived at around 10:30 am and took a very short taxi ride to the pier. Getting onto the ship was a bit of an adventure. Because my taxi dropped me off outside the pier, I had a 15 minute wait in line to show my ID and Carnival boarding pass just to get on the pier. After getting through the initial security, I had to wait in line again to drop off my bags to a luggage porter. I then had to wait in line again and show my ID and Carnival boarding pass just to getinto the building to check-in. After this security line, as soon as I got into the building, there was a holding area and another line AGAIN for an ID and boarding pass check just to get access to the metal detectors and security which was yet another line! I have now passed through 5 lines, including 3 to check my ID and boarding pass. I have now stood in line for over an hour and I haven’t even made it to the check-in line yet! After my check-in, I had to wait for my “boarding zone” to be called. It turned out to be 6 lines, 2 holding areas and an hour and a half from when I arrived at the pier at about 11 am to my stepping onto the ship.
The Carnival Spirit was launched in 2001. The Spirit is a very nice and elegant ship. She’s kind of a dark ship with mostly dark brown and wood paneling like walls with not a lot of interior lighting. The main decks are #2, #3 and #9, they run the length of the ship and most every public area you will want are on these 3 decks. The main dining room is in the aft portion of decks 2 & 3, so unlike some other Carnival ships where the main dining room is in the middle of the ship, you can move easily around the ship without needing to go up or down decks to get from one end to the other. There are 3 major pools with hot tubs nearby on deck 9. A nice sports area complete with jogging track, mini-golf course, and an enclosed basketball court. The crew is very good at cleaning and maintaining the ship. Everything was kept clean and well maintained on the ship.
I had a roomy ocean view stateroom on deck 1. My cabin had a nice picture window, a comfy queen sized bed, and adequate closet space. The bathroom was a typical shower only with a shower curtain, not doors.
The staff was the highlight of the cruise with their service. Our room steward and wait staff were great, and all the crew and staff did a good job. I was very pleased with the staff onboard.
While I enjoyed the food, the one complaint I have is way too much sea food on the menu, and very little basic meat and potatoes or simple pasta dishes. I used the lido buffet for breakfast and lunch, and enjoyed the service and food.
This was a not a port intensive cruise. This was an 8 day cruise with only 3 ports. All 3 ports are being dropped from future Carnival itineraries for the time being. The 1st stop was Acapulco, Mexico. I took a short, half-day tour called “City Tour”. I got to see the famous cliff divers, then we were shown around the city with stops for shopping and picture taking. The 2nd stop was in Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa. Here I had secured a day pass for the Club Med in Ixtapa and spent the day enjoying the pool, drink and food of the resort. The last stop was in Manzanillo, Mexico. I exited the ship and just walked around the shopping district for an hour or so. All 3 ports have rated so low by past Carnival passengers, that Carnival is dropping all 3 in favor of future stops in Cabo, La Paz, and Puerto Vallarta.
I absolutely loved the entertainment venues on the ship. I only took in 1 production show, and enjoyed it very much. However, the best was the Punchliner Comedy Club. Carnival has a dedicated comedy club and changed out the comedians during the port stops to keep the shows fresh. The other entertainment venues were also very good, but I spent a vast majority of my entertainment time in the comedy club.
I decided to use the self-disembarkation for this cruise since I only had 1 piece of luggage and I had an early flight out of San Diego. It was very easy; I ate breakfast in the lido buffet, and then left the cabin at 8:30 am with my luggage. We were delayed in being allowed to disembark due to some non-US passengers that failed to report to the main theater with their passports to clear immigration. US passengers were cleared quickly electronically, so we did not have to stand in any lines and go through immigration. After about a 45 minute delay, the final non-US passenger was cleared and we were finally allowed to disembark. I walked off the ship and after turning in my US Customs form to the US Customs inspector, I grabbed a taxi at the pier and went to the airport for the flight home.
I would rate this cruise a 7.5 out of 10. I really enjoyed the ship, the entertainment, the food and staff was great, however the 3 ports-of-call were not that great and I can see why Carnival is dropping them. My only other complaint is the fact that Carnival fails to enforce the dress code onboard. I saw passengers come into the dining room wearing sleeveless tank top t-shirts, cut off shorts, baseball caps and so on. I even saw one man come in the dining room wearing a bathrobe with no shirt and just shorts underneath one day at lunch! In the buffet, I saw numerous people just wearing swim suits. Many times I saw men walking around with no shirt on inside the ship, I mean really, inside the promenade, the lounges and casino, put a shirt on! I was really disappointed. I thought the Carnival Spirit was a beautiful ship with a fantastic crew and staff, but it really cries out for a better clientele in my opinion. That reason alone will probably mean this was my last cruise on Carnival, which is sad because I really loved the ship.
Not really that exciting to be on the ship and all of the port of call are tourist trap design for the cruise ship. In some way, I feel you must be at least 55+ years old or 300+ lbs to feel fit in on the ship. That's really what happen, there are fat and old people all over the ship who has to use the elevator to go up just 1 deck! I don't think I will ever go on a cruise ship again.