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 Iâ€™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. Thereâ€™s a tendering system where you go and collect a numbered ticket when youâ€™re ready to go and theyâ€™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 itâ€™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 theyâ€™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) youâ€™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, itâ€™s never more than 10-15 mins for each meal to come out.
Some great entertainment as well during the meal, usually just after everyoneâ€™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. Iâ€™ve read some reviews where people described it as â€˜annoyingâ€™- 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 youâ€™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 Jimmyâ€™s) at lunch time, with really nice food.
We also had dinner one night in the 5 star Nouveau Restaurant up on Deck 10. Thatâ€™s an additional charge at $40/head, but great value for 4 courses and the food is EXCELLENT. Itâ€™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 didnâ€™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, weâ€™d simply have one of the kids go up and get it for us. You can buy the adultâ€™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, itâ€™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 theyâ€™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 youâ€™ll be charged $86 AUD /adult and $56/child to book the ships tour.
We caught a taxi when we arrived in Port Villa (theyâ€™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 â€˜Maxâ€™ 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 â€˜organised tourâ€™ 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 didnâ€™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 â€˜Choo Chooâ€™ 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 â€˜look outâ€™ stops and also included fresh pastries and cold drinks at one of the stops. The guide was also informative. BUTâ€”hereâ€™s a tip. Get on the free shuttle bus that Carnival operates to take you from the main port (itâ€™s a container terminal) into the Visitors Centre in town ( about a 5min drive) and you can book a â€˜green trainâ€™ 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 doesnâ€™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 weâ€™d known. Otherwise catch the townâ€™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 â€˜Behind the Fun tourâ€™, which is 3 hours long and takes you through a lot of the restricted areas of the ship (including the theatre, Galley â€“ 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 theyâ€™re limited (only 2 tours on the last 2 sea days) and they sell out quick.
Would we do another Carnival cruise?- absolutely
If youâ€™re high maintenance and need constant entertainment than maybe a cruise isnâ€™t your thing, but if youâ€™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 youâ€™ll enjoy yourself.
Having said that though, thereâ€™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! Thereâ€™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 â€˜Tea Timeâ€™ which was 3-4pm, we didnâ€™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!
What a great way to holiday. So relaxing. The ship was so clean and staff so happy and friendly. I expected sea sickness but was fine - do not let that thought stop you from cruising. A brilliant departure leaving from next to the Sydney harbour bridge & the Opera House. We had a balcony room - so
great waking up to a different island or port each day. I recommend going to discussion sessions on what to do on board, excursions, etc. as you learn a lot which in turn makes your cruise more enjoyable. Our cruise finished one week ago & have been looking for our next one eve since - would go again tomorrow.
My first cruise with Carnival, have been on various other ships. While carnival is not the BEST ship I have been on, I would go again, but DEFINITELY NOT in the school holidays. Couldn't get in the pool most days for the amount of kids in both the pool and the spa, and the entertainment at night was
very often taken over by school kids ranging in age from 3 to teenagers. And if you have more than one child and want to put them in the day club so you can have a break, you will find they only take kids of a certain age at a certain time. So while you might put your 4 year old in there, your 6 year old cant go at the same time. So your not really getting a break. The food was usually pretty good. They make the BEST omelettes in the buffet. The staff were 2nd to none, as they are on all the cruises I have been on, never had bad service from anyone. I was disappointed at some of the entertainment, having been spoilt on other cruises, but it was not bad. The cabins were roomy but the shower water pressure made u want to run round in the shower to get wet. Am looking at my next cruise, and carnival is definitely on the list. Just will pick a better time of year, when the kids are at school.
Our family had a blast , carnival think of everything. The staff all over the ship were amazing ,so friendly and helpful. Entertainment was great . Soooooooo much food and yum. This was my family's 1st cruise and we can't wait to book again. We did isle of pines, lifou, noumea and mystery island OMG
so beautiful what a way to holiday . Loved it
Wonderful trip except for 700 uncontrolled children. Sure, it was a Xmas cruise, but 700 children running uncontrolled by both parents and crew was a little too much to put up with!!
The ship, crew, meals, entertainment were world class, but recommend you travel in non holiday times.
The Carnival spirit is my first cruise and was beyond what I had expected. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the crew aboard. Throughout my time aboard i was well looked after and all i had to do was relax. Everything was well thought out, including a handy itinerary of
daily activities that was delivered to my room. The food on board was great - both at the buffet and restaurants - no complaints there. The staff at the restaurants were very accommodating, namely Ekadana, Putu and Trisna. They were very friendly and professional and most importantly gave great service. Further the restaurant was impeccable as was the rest of the ship.
On board activities were fun and ongoing throughout the day. They were always entertaining. Entertainment at the Pharoh's palace was good, but it would have been better to see something different other than singing most nights. It was great to see a lot of variety in the on board duty free shops; it was money well spent. Note to self: buying lots of cheap gifts adds up to big money!
The islands of New Caledonia was an enjoyable experience. There was no need to book tours to experience what the islands had to offer A bus trip around each island and time spent among the white sand beaches were enough to satisfy an insatiable appetite for paradise. The locals, natives and foods were absolutely devine.
Overall the cruise was a delight and it was well worth the money. I have come back refreshed and would happily go on this same cruise line again.
We had an amazing time on the carnival spirit. There is so much to do on the boat and our kids were kept entertained all the time. The food and entertainment was amazing. We will definitely be back soon.
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.
The Carnival Spirit is almost the length of three football fields at 292.5 metres. She has 12 decks, room for 2,124 passengers, a crew of 930, and the world's steepest vertical waterslide drop at sea.
As well as the steepest waterslide, the range of aquatic features is like having a full-on waterpark on board. There are four outdoor pools, two indoor pools, four hot tubs, and a massive 22-metre corkscrew waterslide to top it all off. For adults travelling without children, there is a child-free open air deck with a pool, sun loungers, a spa and bar.
Out of the water, there are plenty of enjoyable activities dotted around the boat, from the mini golf course and video game arcade, to the library, karaoke, duty-free shopping mall, cabaret acts, live bands and comedians.
The gym, ballroom dancing lessons and aerobics classes will keep you moving, while the day spa, beauty treatments and massages will keep you relaxed.
The food and drink experiences on board the Spirit have been specifically designed for Australian audiences with local fare, beers and wine, trained baristas and Australian currency.
There are two seatings for the two-deck dining room - The Empire - and countless restaurant options including casual burger joints, pizzerias, BBQ meals and grills, as well as high end eateries such as the Nouveau Restaurant.
Choose one of the 20 cabin categories when you book your cruise and take your pick of ocean rooms with balconies, interior staterooms, ocean view rooms and rooms with French doors.
The suites have lounges, sleeping areas and whirlpool baths, and many of the cabins have connecting doors to suit family travellers. There are 16 cabins with wheelchair access, no single cabins and all rooms have 24/7 room service.