I have been selling Carnival cruises for 9 years and have sailed almost every class of ship including the Mardi Gras and Carnivale-class, to the Fantasy & Ecstasy-class to the Destiny & Victory-class. With each new class of vessel, I've seen improvements and the introduction of the Carnival Spirit-class of ships was no exception. Carnival hit a home run with this one. It is without question, my favorite Carnival ship.FIRST IMPRESSION:The first thing I noticed about the ship was its size. At 86,000 tons, I expected it to be smaller than the 102,000 ton Carnival Destiny. I asked Carnival's Ship Architect, Joe Farcus about this and he confirmed that the Spirit is a full 70 feet longer than the Destiny.I think for this reason, the ship never, ever seemed crowded. Mr. Farcus asked me what I like best about the ship. As a person who enjoys the sun and the pool scene, I explained how much I enjoyed the improvements in the pool areas. I, for one, did not like the terrace-type design on the Destiny class ship. It made "people watching" very difficult. The Spirit uses a single level pool design with larger and more inviting pools. They all have a little wading area where you can just sit in an inch or two of water without the cumerbersome 2 foot ledge on the other ships. They've also move the water slide to the back of the ship so we don't have to worry about kids splashing us older folks.There are three pools on the lido deck and the kids' pool and slide are two decks up on the sports deck. Great for anyone who wants to be away from kids. It's so much quieter!CABINS:The cabins are much nicer than their other ships. Carnival historically has larger cabins, but since they are done softer colors and pastels the room seemed even larger than normal. As a matter of fact, the cabins reminded more of a Royal Caribbean - style cabin than a Carnival cabin, except 50% bigger. One noticeable benefit to those of use who have done so many Carnival cruises was that Carnival has finally upgraded their bath towels. These were some of the softest, fluffiest, thirstiest towels I've ever seen. Yes, I pay attention to the small stuff.FOOD:Lots of choices for food. The food on the lunch buffets is consistent with any other contemporary cruise line. How good can a buffet be anyway? There are a lot of choices and in my opinion, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian are all equal in the area. (Celebrity is the best for lunch buffets and food, period). Dinner on the other hand was noticeably better and keeps getting better with every Carnival cruise I take. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to try Joe's Stone Crab, their alternative dining restaurant. I hear it's fantastic.ENTERTAINMENT:Once again, I ignored the shows and did the casino instead. Since I won $300, I'll give the Casino a great review. Had I lost $300, I would've given it a bad review. Just kidding. Plenty of tables and I never had to wait to find a spot. OTHER:The library doubles as the Internet cafe and it stayed full. Everyone loves the computer. There's a wedding chapel and the kids' area was super as well.FINAL THOUGHTS:Those of you who have not done Carnival in the past 5 years will realize a big difference between Old Carnival and New Carnival. This a great ship. One of the best, in my opinion, and will be perfect for first time cruisers and experienced ones alike. I think you'll find a nice mix of Carnival's Funship personality with relaxed luxury as well.Give it a shot. You'll be happy you did.Uf TukelTravel Services Internationalmytravelco.com1-888-Cruises
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