Overall cruise was ok. Quite a few improvements needed to entice us to cruise again.
I will start with the positives:
1) each nights dining menu available in the room on your tv
2) room size was fantastic and bigger than prior cruise
3) empire dining room staff were great and food variety was good
4) lots of deck parties and things for the kids
5) good size boat
6) lunch options including sandwich bar was good
7) ability to check our account transactions at a self serve was good
8) drinks reasonable price
9) comedians and hypnotist =awesome
1) too many kids, no quota, they were running a riot
2) air con way too cold in common areas, requested to turn down but told that they are unable to, many people were getting sick as it was too cold
3) dinner buffet consisted of pizza, sandwiches and maybe 4 other options which were the same every night
4) a lot of the staff were rude and did not speak English properly
5) lack of music during the day in the adults serenity area
6) staffs lack of knowledge of promotions (every classic cocktail you have take your reeipt to the casino for a $5 voucher to bet at casino)
7) dj duh dork would play rap every night (same playlist) from about 1230am, was rude and threatened us when we asked for something different. One night he left the club for half an hour and let fhe music play and it sounded awful like the speakers were going to blow! Dj travis not much better, he would play requests sometimes but was also rude.
8) early dinner seating 530 was too early, and late time 745 was way too late
9) no skim milk in the coffee shop!
10) no free water provided in the room
11) green thunder not open during sea days due to high wind, open on port days. Maybe had one sea day where it was open
12) entertainment options lacking, not all nights had shows and most shows we're not up to scratch
13) if you order a drink in an entertainment venue or pool area expect to wait upto half an hour for your drink, not enough bar staff.
14) gym has all weights in pounds, beng an Australian ship this needs to change, also not enough room to do free weights and stretch etc also too windy most sea days to use running track or mini golf
We just returned from the Pacific Islands 10 night cruise (May 2014) on Carnival Spirit, who our two children 8 & 10.
First cruise for all of us and we really enjoyed it. Good food, great staff (from waiters, bar staff and Cabin Stewards) and things were very well organised when it came to boarding and disembarking the ship, whether it was the 4 ports of call or when boarding in Sydney and returning.
Carnival have staggered check in times where you pick your preferred time to board, (not sure if other ships do it, but I’m told Carnival are the only ones) and it works a treat. We turned up about 45mins before our check in time with our bags already tagged & our luggage was taken off our hands for us outside the Passenger Terminal. That frees you up to walk around for a while without all the main luggage while waiting for your check in time. When that time came it was all very efficient and we were on the ship in under 30 mins.
Same with disembarking at the ports of call. There’s a tendering system where you go and collect a numbered ticket when you’re ready to go and they’ll call your number when the tender boat is ready. We never waited more than 20mins. They run about 4 tender boats constantly ferrying people to the islands, you turn up when called and the boat is waiting for you.
Food ranged from good to excellent (never had a bad meal)
Buffet has a wide variety ( too much to list here, but it’s good quality), you can have anything from the usual hot food right through to a salad bar, fresh Pizzas made to order (24/7) and sandwich bar where they’ll make fresh wraps to order or a simple toasted sandwich. Also 24/7 ice-cream by the pools.
Empire Dining room for Main evening meal also good to excellent. Some meals were better than others, but never a bad one. Waiter staff are very attentive and professional. If turning up for a pre-selected dining time (either 5.30 or 7.45pm) you’re looked after straight away. The first night our kids ordered some drinks and the next night when we tuned up, the drinks were already there waiting for them. Little things like that which impressed us. When you do order, it’s never more than 10-15 mins for each meal to come out.
Some great entertainment as well during the meal, usually just after everyone’s mains. Some of the waiter staff sang on a number of nights and they were brilliant, with all the waiter staff dancing as well. I’ve read some reviews where people described it as ‘annoying’- some people are obviously hard to please no matter what! What it did offer was a great atmosphere and was never overdone, it made the evening even more enjoyable
Breakfast you can also have in the Empire Room (where you’re waited on) or head up to Deck 9 to the Buffet which we did most mornings. Having breakfast at the buffet means being able to enjoy the wide ocean views while having a big breakfast! Once again a large variety as well as fresh omelettes made to order
Great deck side BBQ as well (Fat Jimmy’s) at lunch time, with really nice food.
We also had dinner one night in the 5 star Nouveau Restaurant up on Deck 10. That’s an additional charge at $40/head, but great value for 4 courses and the food is EXCELLENT. It’s worth doing at least 1 night there.
Beer (close to schooner size) average $8 a beer, cocktails around $10, kids Mocktails $6 and softdrinks $2.25 each (large). Best value though is to buy the kids soft drink package at $5.50 day and its unlimited refills. We didn’t let our kids drink soft drink non-stop, but if they had one throughout the day and 1 at dinner, plus the odd extra here and there, the $5.50 day is well worth it. If we fancied a soft drink as well, we’d simply have one of the kids go up and get it for us. You can buy the adult’s soft drink package at $7.50 day, but why bother when you can have one of the kids go on an undercover mission and get you a soft drink as part of their deal!
Cabins were serviced twice daily if you leave your little service request thingy on the door, so we always came back to a tidy cabin. Nice hot showers with good water pressure in the cabins as well!
Pay the extra and get a balcony, it’s nice to have the fresh air and the ability to sit outside and take in the views in privacy every now and then.
Try to avoid booking shore excursions on board the ship and do your own thing, as they’re notoriously expensive. The Mele Cascades for eg is about 20 mins out of Port Villa & is a fantastic must see, however if you book on board you’ll be charged $86 AUD /adult and $56/child to book the ships tour.
We caught a taxi when we arrived in Port Villa (they’re all there waiting for you looking for your business) and paid a total $80 Aud for the 4 of us. For that our friendly Taxi driver ‘Max’ drove us through town pointing out some sights and took us all the way to the falls. We did have to pay our entry to the falls when we arrived ($25 AUD/adult, $15/child), but still saved us $120 in total compared to booking an ‘organised tour’ on the ship. He then waited 2.5 hours for us while we walked up and swam, then took us to a local village ( not the one they sell on the ship) where we had our own personal tour and tribal dance. He then took us back into town and dropped us off while we had a look around the local markets. We made our own way back to the ship for $15 for the 4 of us on one of the local mini buses that keep passing through town offering you trips back to the ship.
Mystery Island & Lifou mainly consisted of swimming and snorkelling- but both very nice spots. Beautiful clear water. Once again you can pay for some local tours once on the islands, but we didn’t bother. Lifou you can walk up to the old Church as well as a great look out, and then head back to the main beach and swim (for free). There is a coral snorkelling are on the back side of the island which is a protected reserve, which you need to book tickets for on the ship ($18.50/adult), spoke to some people who did it and said it was beautiful.
The only tour we booked on board was the yellow ‘Choo Choo’ train tour of Noumea- manly because the kids wanted to do it. This was the only one of the 4 port days where we booked a tour. It was expensive at $199 for the 4 of us, but was actually quite good. It was 2hrs in duration, picked you up and returned you to the ship ( we chose to get off in town on the way back) showed us all of the main sights of Noumea with a couple of ‘look out’ stops and also included fresh pastries and cold drinks at one of the stops. The guide was also informative. BUT—here’s a tip. Get on the free shuttle bus that Carnival operates to take you from the main port (it’s a container terminal) into the Visitors Centre in town ( about a 5min drive) and you can book a ‘green train’ tour from there, that does exactly the same thing for just over half the price! We only discovered that after booking the one on board the ship. The green train tour is a little shorter at 1.5 hours and doesn’t include the snacks as far as I could tell, but is the extra 30mins and snacks worth the extra $$?? We would have done that if we’d known. Otherwise catch the town’s shuttle bus where you can jump on and off for about 10-15 bucks a person I think.
On our last day at sea we did the ‘Behind the Fun tour’, which is 3 hours long and takes you through a lot of the restricted areas of the ship (including the theatre, Galley – where you get to enjoy freshly baked pastries, Engine Control room, staff quarters, food stores) and finally the Bridge, where we got to meet the Captain, had our photographs taken with him and had the opportunity to ask questions. At $95/person it is expensive- but worth every cent. If you plan on doing it, book it on the first day, as they’re limited (only 2 tours on the last 2 sea days) and they sell out quick.
Would we do another Carnival cruise?- absolutely
If you’re high maintenance and need constant entertainment than maybe a cruise isn’t your thing, but if you’re happy to chill out and take it easy for a while, taking in in the cruise experience and slowing down your pace a little while out at sea on the non-port days, then you’ll enjoy yourself.
Having said that though, there’s still plenty of activities arranged every day and you can do as little or as much as you want. Eli the Cruise director was very informative & good humoured. Communication on board was always excellent, keeping guests informed on the where, what & how of things to ensure everything ran smoothly.
Some fun pool side competitions as well, on our last sea day we had a live ice sculpture demonstration by the pool
Complaints? None really. The only minor ones would be the pre-cooked toast at the buffet was like rock! There’s toasters scattered around so you can cook your own toast, but not enough of them. All the fantastic sweets on offer seemed to disappear from the buffet around 2.30-300pm, and then re-appear around dinner time. So if you fancy afternoon tea by the pool later in the day, grab some before the buffet closes. The Empire Room though did have ‘Tea Time’ which was 3-4pm, we didn’t get to that but assume that was a cake/coffee/afternoon tea type of thing.
We had a great time and for the money was very good value. We look forward to the next one!
We chose this ship because we were travelling with 3 kids including a 2yr old, and Carnival was the only cruiseline doing a one way inside passage cruise which would allow a 2yr old in their Kids Club.
First the good points. The itinerary was fantastic, with lots of time in each port. This was very important to us, as we cruise for the destinations rather than the ship itself. We researched each port in advance and had made our own sightseeing arrangements which were more personal, and less expensive, than the shore excursions offered.
The Kids Club was fantastic, with very friendly staff. We would feed the kids early and send them to the kids club for a few hours while we had 'adult dinner.' They never wanted to leave and there were complaints about getting off the ship because they might miss out on an activity!
The other staff on this cruise were also exceptional, particularly the cabin stewards and the waiters in the main dining room. They knew our names and routine after the first day and had everything ready for us before we asked.
Less impressive was the entertainment, which was pretty average, and the food, which with a couple of exceptions was similar in quality to a food court. There was also a major emphasis in the presentations on shopping, particularly in the major ports, with a big push to buy diamonds and other jewelry from 'preferred suppliers'.
Overall it was an excellent way to see some otherwise inaccessible places, without having to pack and unpack, and incorporating time out for the parents while the kids were having fun. Highly recommended.
My husband and I opted for this cruise as the price was great and we really wanted to go to Singapore. The staff at Cruise Sale Finder were friendly and VERY helpful when booking and we have recommended them to family and friends who have also since booked with them. Carnival Spirit was cruising to
Singapore for a refurb and it was in drastic need of one. No hand sanitiser in the dispensers, alot of vibration (shuddering) throughout the ship, old old seats and settings in the lounges and poor catering in all venues except the "pay-for" restaurant which gave great service and excellent food choices. The chefs in that section ought to cook for the rest of the ship - it was the only area where food was good! Our cabin staff were some of the best, always available and happy to oblige with the most trivial of requests. Entertainment was not too bad with a great speaker on board and OK shows. Seating was a bit of a problem at times due to the columns in the theatre blocking views. Shore excursions by tender were not by any means fast and not well organised and disembarkment seemed to be an issue for some reason - very slow and it was difficult to find a reason why. The trip itself though was something to be remembered.
I have read the reviews people had given Carnival Spirit and I can only assume that this ship must have been the only cruise they have ever been on! The food, entertainment, crew and just about anything else you can think of were not comparable to Princess, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity and whilst
I'm not a huge fan of P&O, I would cruise with that line again before ever wasting my money on another Carnival cruise.
The water slides and pool areas are the ONLY thing this ship has going for it.
thoroughly enjoyed, made new friends for life, although i knew nobody on the cruise except my 16yo son.
By the time the cruise had come back to Sydney i had made 17 different friends that i intend to stay in touch with
Loved cruising with Carnival, except for the shows, thought they were pretty lame, and the late night comedy shows were impossible to get into unless you lined up for an hour prior. The staff were amazing loved the red frog bar and the singer who was AWESOME, great smooth sailing ot the Caribbean
and the port were pretty good too, nothing like snorkeling in our Barrier reef, but still nice. Did get pretty upset with one of the ships tours that was to swim with the stingrays, and all that happened was you sailed on a small boat to the beach then they loured a poor stingray and captured it and let everyone on board have it flapping their backs as a massage then take numerous photos of the poor animal out of the water, it was cruel to say the least, they also got live sea urchin out of the water and cut them up live for all to taste. The Caribbean people had a very barbaric attitude towards our marine life and were not interested in our views.
The Carnival ships were great as there was always plenty to see and do and shopping at Diamonds International was fantastic as jewelry is duty and tax free.
It was better then I thought it would be. Loved the fact that there was so much to do on the cruise...the hard part was to choose what to do, because there were multiple things I was interested in that were on at the same time. Would love to go on another cruise again. This sort of trip is
perfect for my mother who is not able to do long walks and drives. We would split up during the day and each of us perused our own interest and then we would meet up for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The best part was Serenity. This was the adults only retreat area. I even ate my breakfast in there. It was so tranquil and relaxing. I was really lucky to find this cruise at a good deal when I did. It was so worth it!!! This has encouraged me to continue looking for those good deals and hopefully finding something that the whole family can now enjoy together. Perfect for family reunions. Can't wait till my next cruise. I will be sure to go on the water slide next time. I didn't get a chance to go on Green Thunder this time around. Always next time =D
Second time cruisers. Booked balcony room for three- older dgtr and parents. Room was larger than our previous Radiance of the Seas room with plenty of space to move around. It had a large bathroom with two sinks, a full sized shower and a queen and single bed. Also had a little "dressing area"
before the bathroom with large lighted mirror and desk and chair. Heaps of storage space with two big wardrobes and lots of drawers. Two Australian powerpoints were plenty for us. Also had two lovely bathrobes. Balcony had a lounger and two chairs. Dining was excellent, both buffet and My Time dining. Wait staff were amazing and performed a song each night and included diners. Lots of children on board, as still school holidays, but they didnt seem to get in our way. Absolutely loved the over 18's Serenity Area. Adults pool and Spa with hammocks and big round relaxing chairs. There was a well equipped gym and plenty of walking space around the ship. One and only negative was waiting for the tenders to return to the ship from Port Arthur-Had to wait 50 mins- I believe there was a breakdown but we were not kept informed of this. Heaps of activities to keep occupied too, loved the trivia which was very interactive and inclusive. Would definitely go again with Carnival
The food was very good you won't go hungry. The 24 hour pizza is made right as you order it so it doesn't sit there. The staff was very nice, helpful and friendly . Dinner was great. Service was excellent. Could not ask for better. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone for a short getaway.